Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday said she was offended by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano's insinuation that the Senate hearing on alleged extrajudicial killings was part of the Liberal Party's plan to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte.
During the hearing, Cayetano tagged the LP as he questioned the credibility of witness Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed member of the Davao Death Squad (DDS).
Matobato testified that some of the killings in Davao City were upon the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte when he was still city mayor and Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte. The President's camp, as well as Paolo's have since denied the allegations.
In linking the former ruling party, Cayetano pointed out that colleagues present at the hearing are part of LP — including former Senate President Franklin Drilon and Sen. Leila de Lima, chairperson of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, which is conducting the hearings along with the committee on public order and dangerous drugs.
Cayetano then said it is Robredo, the highest elected official of the LP, who stands to benefit if Duterte is unseated from the presidency.
In a statement, the Vice President said she is "offended by Senator Cayetano's accusation that the Liberal Party is plotting to oust the President and that I will be the intended beneficiary of this plan."
"As I have reiterated time and again, it is not good for the country to go through another period of upheaval, where the common Filipino people will suffer the most," she added.
The Vice President also noted that she "personally made the assurance that no such plan exists" during Wednesday's Cabinet meeting.
Cayetano was Duterte's runningmate in the May polls.
He placed third in the vice presidential race with some 5.9 million votes. He conceded to Robredo three days after the elections.
Meanwhile, Robredo said Matobato's claims during the hearing "are serious."
"We must exhaust all efforts to get to the truth with due regard to our democratic processes and the rule of law," she said.
She added: "I enjoin the public to remain vigilant and discerning as the investigation unfolds."
Robredo is among officials who have expressed concern over extrajudicial killings, and urged authorities to "seriously investigate" the spate of killings in recent weeks. — RSJ, GMA News