Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday threatened critics that he would imprison them if they file an impeachment complaint against him. This comes after several critics said that Duterte’s resistance in protecting the Philippines’ territories from China is an impeachable offense.
Duterte made his threats after the oath-taking of incoming senator and former presidential assistant Christopher “Bong” Go in the Malacañang Palace in Manila.
“You’re going to impeach me? I will imprison them all. I dare you. Try to take it, do it, and I will do it,” ABS-CBN News quoted him saying in English and Filipino.
The visibly angry Duterte told GMA News and other media during the interview: “You’re scaring me with impeachment. Son of a b*tch, I dare you … I dare you. I dare you. If you’re a real man, you’re being brave, you have the balls, do it. You sons of b*tches.”
Duterte became upset after several people, including former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, said that his resistance to protect the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Recto Bank (aka Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea from China is a violation of Article XII Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
The article states that the government “shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.”
Del Rosario pointed this out because Duterte divulged in a public speech on Monday that he has made a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping that gave the Chinese permission to fish in Recto Bank, reported CNN Philippines. Duterte said he made this agreement so that China will allow Filipinos to fish in the Scarborough Shoal, which both the Philippines and China are claiming. This, even though the Scarborough Shoal is actually open for any country to fish from.
Duterte also dismissed the provision del Rosario cited, saying: “That is a provision for the thoughtless and the senseless,” he said. “I am protecting the country and 110 [million] Filipinos.”
“This is the constitution. [Have] you run out of toilet paper? Use that,” he said.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo insisted yesterday that Duterte has not committed any impeachable offense. During a media briefing, Panelo was quoted by the Philippine Star saying: “What was stated under the culpable violation of the Constitution, like what — bribery, there’s none; graft and corruption, high crimes [none]. What did he do?”
“Under the Constitution, there are provisions on impeachment. If they believe he has done something that constitutes a ground for impeachment, they should file (a complaint).”
However, Article XI Section 2 of the constitution states that impeachable offenses include: “culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust.”
Duterte continues to resist upholding the 2016 decision of the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration which invalidated China’s claim over parts of the West Philippine Sea, including the Recto Bank.
He has said repeatedly that he does not want to go to war with China. He used the same reasoning when he decided not to call out Beijing over the June 9 incident where the boat of 22 Filipino fishermen was hit and sunk by a Chinese-owned trawler in the Recto Bank.
Duterte repeatedly downplayed the incident and has said the Filipino fishermen’s boat was just sideswiped and not rammed.
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