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Duterte says destab moves ‘all politics’

NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar – President Duterte said there is nothing he can do about the moves to impeach him and the reports that there are people who are out to destabilize the government.

Speaking with reporters at the Horizon Lake View Hotel Lobby following his meeting with the Filipino community Sunday night that kicked off his two day visit here, Duterte described the supposed concerted efforts to destabilize his administration as “all politics.”

In the matter of going after those behind such moves, the President said so far it has not reached the level of violence but more of publicity.

“And for as long as it is really a peaceful exercise of the freedom of speech and freedom of the press, there’s nothing I can do about it,” he said. “It’s guaranteed under the Constitution.”

Duterte brushed aside talks about destabilization, saying this is just “an exponential word actually.”

“It has no limit,” he said. “But actually you have to have the kind of situation where there is already violence committed and imposed on the population whether they are with you or against you.”

But how the reported destabilization is perceived changes when there is already violence just like what is happening in Mindanao, the President explained.

“If it goes out of hand and children are already targeted for killings, that is another story,” said Duterte. “But as far as just being criticized, I would allow them. I cannot do anything because the Constitution guarantees criticism. And to peaceably assemble and maybe to address whatever grievance and I don’t see anyone except that they would want me ousted.”

House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez earlier tagged Vice President Leni Robredo as being involved in the impeachment bid filed against Duterte. Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano also claimed that other allies of the Liberal Party instigated “coordinated” attacks against the President.

Meanwhile, it was business as usual for Robredo yesterday but her camp is not taking the impeachment complaint to be filed against her lightly.

Robredo’s spokesperson Georgina Hernandez indicated that the Vice President would be ready to face the impeachment case once it is filed before the House of Representatives.

Even as the House leadership has numbers to impeach Robredo, Hernandez said she believed lawmakers would decide her case based on their principles and what is right.

“Sana hindi lang purely numbers ang tinitingnan natin dito pero iyong content, iyong substance,” she said when asked to comment on Senate President Koko Pimentel’s statement that Robredo has more chances to be impeached than Duterte. (Roy C. Mabasa and Raymund F. Antonio)