Impeach Duterte proponents told: Do reality check, avoid embarrassment
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Friday urged those planning to file an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte to “first conduct a reality check to avoid embarrassment.”
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued this statement after fisher folks group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said they would file an impeachment complaint against Duterte, citing treason and his failure to defend the Philippines’ rights in the West Philippine Sea.
While Panelo said “any Filipino citizen can file an impeachment case against a sitting President,” he touted that no impeachment complaint against Duterte would prosper.
“The Office of the President cannot and will not dissuade those individuals and groups, including left-leaning ones, to initiate such an action before the Congress, as the same is recognized by our Constitution,” he said in a statement.
He, however, said that an impeachment complaint against Duterte is “not only misplaced” but also “absolutely baseless in fact and in law.”
Various groups, including maritime law experts and a former Philippine diplomat, said the President may face impeachment for his failure to protect the country’s rights in the West Philippine Sea amid China’s continued aggression in the area.
Panelo noted, “The President is fealty to his sworn oath under the Constitution of serving and protecting the Filipino people, who in turn have given the highest satisfaction, approval, performance and trust ratings in political polling history.”
Duterte has earlier said that Article XII Section of the 1987 Philippine 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,” was only for the “thoughtless and senseless.”
He also drew sharp rebuke for his remarks last week that he could not ban the Chinese fishermen from venturing into the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) because he and Xi had a verbal fishing deal.
But Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said the President was not violating the Constitution.
“There can be no culpable violation of the Constitution, or any impeachable offense for that matter, when the President is precisely enforcing that very same instrument while honoring our country’s constitutional obligation of observing amity with our neighboring states in conformity with our treaties and international conventions, as well as customary international law,” he said,
He said that “the results of the midterm elections have validated this public endearment with all the senatorial candidates of the opposition being overwhelmingly repudiated.”
“The stunning result,” he added, “shows the support of the electorate on the policies of the President concerning our international relations.”
“The Palace is therefore confident that no impeachment complaint against PRRD would prosper. As a friendly advice, we suggest that these people first conduct a reality check to avoid embarrassment he said. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)/ac
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