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Duterte threat to jail impeachment case filers seen as sign of guilt

/ 01:47 PM June 28, 2019
Duterte declines use of bulletproof glass panel during GenSan speech

President Rodrigo Duterte points to the bulletproof glass panel placed in front of his rostrum during his speech in General Santos City on Thursday, June 13, 2019. Screengrab from RTVM

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to send to jail those who will file an impeachment complaint against him for allegedly violating the Constitution was a sign of guilt, a militant lawmaker said on Friday (June 28).

Critics of Duterte’s embrace of China warned that the President’s pronouncement that he would allow Chinese fishing vessels inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone was impeachable.

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“He may have said those words because he’s guilty,” said ACT Teacher Rep. Antonio Tinio in an interview with ANC.

“It means he probably knows he makes certain statements of admissions that are clearly unconstitutional,” Tinio said.

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The Makabayan bloc member said Duterte’s reaction was a repeat of his earlier remarks on accusations he committed “crimes against humanity” in waging a brutal campaign against illegal drugs.

Police have estimated up to 7,000 deaths of drug suspects but human rights groups claim the figure could be as high as 20,000.

“So what he is doing now is he is preempting an impeachment, by making these threats that anyone who files an impeachment complaint will be jailed,” Tinio said.

Tinio added that even this threat is unconstitutional and “highly undemocratic,” since any citizen has the right to file an impeachment complaint against the President.

He said any sitting President should respect this right.

Tinio added there was enough basis to impeach Duterte, following his admission that he entered into a deal in 2016 to let Chinese vessels fish inside the Philippines” exclusive economic zone.

Tinio, however, admitted that an impeachment case against Duterte is “highly unlikely” to prosper in the House because the President had a “supermajority” supporting him. (Editor: Tony Bergonia)

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TAGS: China, Constitution, duterte, EEZ, Impeachment, Tinio
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