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Aleezah Gertrude R.

Regado

OPINION WITH REGARD TO THE VICE PRESIDENT’S SPEECH IN THE 60TH


UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION ON NARCOTIC DURGS ANNUAL MEETING IN
VIENNA

“The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants.
He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his
good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and
disinterested service to the nation as a whole.To announce that there must be no
criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not
only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing
but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else.” A famous quotation of
Theodore Roosevelt.

In the national setting, an act of the vice president of the Philippines, LennieRobredo’s
nearly six-minute video was shown to 60th United Nations Commission on Narcotic
Drugs annual meeting in Vienna. In the video, Lennie expressed her disappointment
and grief about the alleged drug-related extra-judicial killings in the Philippines which
was discussed in international forum. She made certain statements such as “the drug
problem should be treated as one that can’t be solved with bullet’s alone”. She shared
about the suspected drug offenders killed in summary executions since President
Duterte’s administration started. She voiced out that she wanted a safe environment for
the Filipino people and things alike. For such, there was an appeal of her impeachment
invoking Sec 2, Article 11 of the constitution about a public official’s betrayal of public
trust.

The sole issue of this case that we have to rule upon is whether or not ,LennieRobredo
committed an act that constitutes betrayal of public trust due to the speech she made
about the war on drugs in the Philippines?

First, we must figure out ---- What is “betrayal of public trust” as a ground for
impeachment of an officer?
In the case of Emilio Gonzales III v. Office of the President of the Philippines, SC justice
Azcuna defined betrayal of public trust as to warrant removal from office may be less
than criminal but must be attended by bad faith and of such gravity and seriousness as
the other grounds of impeachment. Fr.Bernas in his commentaries even stated that
since there is no clear definition of betrayal of public trust as to the impeachment of
government officials, the concept of eiusdem generis (“of the same kind” in Latin) rule,
when the law makes an enumeration of specific objects and follows it with “other”
unspecified objects, those unspecified objects must be of the same nature as those
specified. Therefore Section 2, Article XI “(Accountability of Public Officers) of the 1987
Constitution gives us the idea that such betrayal of public trust must be of such gravity
as treason, bribery, and other high crimes.

Also we must not forget that Freedom of expression, is guaranteed to every individual in
accordance with the Bill of Rights as specified in the Article III, Section 4 of the
constitution which states that “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech,
of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and
petition the government for redress of grievances.” By virtue of being the Vice President
of the Philippines,LennieRobredo still possess such vested right to express her
disappointment by the current situation in the Philippines.

We believe that the Vice President of the Philippines, herein LennieRobredo did not
commit betrayal of public trust. To be liable for committing betrayal of public trust as to
warrant impeachment of a public officer, it must be of such gravity of showing bad faith.
In the UN video towards the members of other nations in a side event specifically
dealing with war on drugs, Mrs.Robredo merely exercised her freedom of speech in
good faith by expressing sadness with the current situation in the Philippines, also
communicating with one of her staffs, we were given the information that they have
communicated with PDEA, NBI and even PNP Chief Bato Delarosa to re-validate the
sources of information found by such office, to the end that there was no response.
By virtue of election, one does not surrender his/her right of freedom of speech and right
to redress grievances. In a moment where there is imbalance in the weights of justice
upon our nation, we must not become blind as to perceive the situation different from
what presents itself to be. We must not cover our ears from the cries of our countrymen.
We must not strike silence upon the lips of a public officer by telling her that she
betrayed the nation for opposing the ideologies of her co-officials and in expressing grief
for the darkest days of the existence of due process of law. By silencing the voice of
opposition, we do nothing more but to drag drug the nation upon the slaughter of it’s
growth. It is terror to be repressed, and not freedom. Courage to be encouraged and
liberty to preserved. Freedom of speech will forever be the greatest pillar of democracy.

In sum, given these considerations and conclusions, petition for impeachment of Vice
President LennieRobredo is hereby denied.