MANILA (UPDATED) - A group of lawyers and members of the academe, including an official of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), plans to file an impeachment complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo once Congress resumes session in May.
The group, vocal critics of Robredo in social media, call themselves "Impeach Leni Team."
They insisted in a press conference on Thursday that although Robredo's message to the United Nations triggered their plan to file a complaint, she had committed other impeachable offenses in her less than a year in office.
"We have enough time to file the impeachment because Congress right now is in recess. Congress will resume their session in May, which gives us enough time for what we call the case build-up," said Interior and Local Government assistant secretary Epimaco Densing III.
"Malinaw na po yung pundasyon ng impeachment complaint, gagawin na lang po nilang airtight, and most probably if there will be other people who can bring in additional impeachable offenses made by the Vice President, they're more than welcome para pampa-dagdag," he added.
"Pero vis-a-vis the issue of betrayal of public trust, malinaw na malinaw po."
Joining Densing were political science professor Antonio Contreras, lawyers Trixie Angeles, Bruce Rivera, and Tom Berenguer.
They said they are in talks with someone from the House of Representative who may endorse their complaint, but refused to identify the lawmaker.
Contreras said they are also looking at the possibility of a "defective" statement of assets, liabilities, and networth (SALN).
"We are not yet final on that, we are still looking into it if she filed the correct SALN and if she declared all her properties in the SALN or if her assets have been declared in the right way," he said.
"That's an angle that we are looking into, because remember, we have impeached the Chief Justice before on that basis," he added.
Their call for Robredo's impeachment comes a day after President Rodrigo Duterte himself thumbed down these plans, telling his allies to "stop it."
But Rivera insists, they don't need the President's help in their motion.
"We want the President to do his job...We need him to do his job. We don't want him worried about Leni talking about this, people talking about that, people talking behind his back, people wanting to destabilize him," he said.
"We don't want him to worry about that because we need him more as our president for every Filipino," he added.
They also dismissed suggestions to call for Robredo’s resignation instead of filing an impeachment case, because that would give her an “easy way out."
“Kung mag-resign ka, para bagang easy way out...walang closure, at hindi lumabas ang truth. Ang batayan natin sa demokrasya, information…Asking her to resign is just a very quick, easy way out that would not serve the issue of democracy,” Contreras said.
The group also denied that they will pursue a disbarment case against Robredo, because they are looking at her deeds as vice president, and not as a lawyer.