Guevarra: No immunity from suit for Robredo
Vice President Leni Robredo is not covered by executive immunity, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said as he cited the 1987 Constitution as his legal basis.
Since Robredo can be sued, Guevarra disclosed the second highest public official in the country needs to face the string of charges filed recently by the Philippine National Police accusing her and several others of complicity in the hugely controversial “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.
However, Guevarra qualified that Robredo can’t be removed from office in case of conviction since she’s an impeachable official.
” I have stated earlier that the present Constitution does not grant the vice president immunity from suit.”
“Additionally, criminal prosecution does not deal with any penalty of removal from office, which is the function of an impeachment proceeding as to an impeachable officer such as the VP, although the imposable penalty in the criminal case may include disqualification from holding public office in the future,” Guevarra said.
Last Thursday, the PNP filed slew of charges against Robredo, former senator Antonio Trillanes IV, detained Sen. Leila de Lima, and scores of others that included priests and lawyers, before the Department of Justice.
While Peter Joemel Advincula alias ‘Bikoy’ was one of the respondents, the PNP bared that it will be utilizing him as key witness against the respondents.
Named respondents were ‘Bikoy’, Trillanes, Jonnel P. Sangalang, Yolanda Villanueva Ong, Fr. Flaviano Villanueva, Fr. Albert Alejo, Bro. Armin Luistro, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, Bishop Teodoro Bacani, Boom Enriquez, Vicente Romano III, Danilo Songco, one alias ‘Monique’.
Joel Saracho, Eduardo Acierto, Archbishop Pablo Virgilio David, Fr. Robert Reye, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Atty. Fhilipp Sawali, Atty. Abdiel Elijah Jan Fajardo, Atty. Minerva Ambrosio, Atty. Egon Cayosa, one alias Atty. Chito, Atty. Theodore Te.
Atty. Serafin Salvador, Carmelita Salvador, Atty. Jose Manuel Diokno, Gary Alejano, Atty. Florin Hilbay, Atty. Romulo Macalintal, Samari Gutoc-Tomawis, Paolo Benigno Aquino, Atty. Lorenzo Tañada III, Hontivero, de Lima, Roberdo, one alias ‘Sentrix,’ and John Doe.
The criminal charges filed against them were sedition/inciting to sedition, cyber-libel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal, and obstruction of justice.
In a three-page letter-complaint, the PNP accused the respondents of engaging ‘Bikoy’ to spread lies against President Duterte and his family to make them appear as protectors of the illegal drugs trade, and earn huge amount of money in the process.
Also, the PNP claimed the respondents were involved in the alleged sedition which was supposedly committed in Jesuits Communication Building at the Ateneo de Manila compound were they planned to spread false information against Duterte to agitate the public to stage mass protest.
The PNP stressed that the objective was to bring down the Duterte government and install Robredo as new president.