Impeachment raps vs Duterte won’t prosper in House – solons
MANILA, Philippines — The possible impeachment case against President Rodrigo Duterte over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) issue may be impossible to prosper in the House, some lawmakers said Thursday.
“Mukhang imposible… hindi kakayanin sa Senado… Kasi forward-looking ang mga congressman eh, if you believe in the Senate there is no chance, then they wouldn’t even think about it… it’s a numbers game eh,” Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda said during a forum at Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City.
Capiz 2nd District Rep. Fredenil Castro backed Salceda, saying the President’s agreement with China on the WPS could not be considered an impeachable offense while the Code of Conduct in the area has yet to be finalized.
While Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor sees Duterte’s move as a mere “foreign policy” tactic, he said talks of impeachment against the Chief Executive were just politically-motivated.
“But we are in a democracy, so let’s see. If there is an impeachment case, pag-aralan natin kung ano ang sinasabi nilang kaso,” he further said, stressing that an impeachment case has to be endorsed by a House member first.
Duterte earlier said China can fish inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, a remark that Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio slammed as an unconstitutional act.
The President, when asked if the Philippine government would prevent Chinese fishers from venturing into Philippine territorial waters, earlier said: “I don’t think China would do that [stop fishing in Philippine territory]. Why? Because we’re friends.”
Carpio cited Article XII Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, which states that “the State 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.”
“The Philippines has the exclusive sovereign right to exploit all the fish, oil, gas and other mineral resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone. This sovereign right belongs to the Filipino people, and no government official can waive this sovereign right of the Filipino people without their consent,” Carprio asserted.
However, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said it could not be considered treason because it was “allowed under international laws.”
The grounds for an impeachment case include culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft, and corruption, other high crimes or betrayal of public trust.
The complaint has to pass the lower chamber, which is expected to be dominated by a “supermajority” of Duterte allies before it could go to the Senate, where the President also enjoys the support of the majority.
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