By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is unfazed by any impeachment threat over his pronouncement on the West Philippine Sea with the overwhelming support of his allies in Congress, Malacañang said Friday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said any impeachment bid against the President will not likely pass the House justice committee level, adding that many lawmakers supported Duterte’s position on the maritime issue.
“How can the President be scared sa impeachment? An impeachment is a numbers game,” Panelo said in an interview with reporters at the Palace Friday.
“Eh supermajority ngayon sa Kongreso. Baka sa committee on justice wala na agad yun [We have a supermajority in Congress. It might not even pass the justice committee],” he added.
The President recently threatened to throw in jail those who would file an impeachment case against him over his recent pronouncements on the West Philippine Sea conflict with China.
Duterte dared his critics to try and file an impeachment complaint against him if they were brave enough.
Some groups earlier warned that President Duterte could be impeached after he declared China would not be prevented from fishing in the country’s exclusive economic zone. They claimed that allowing China to fish in the country’s waters was a violation of the Constitutional provision that states the government must protect the country’s territory including the exclusive economic zone.
“I-impeach ako? Kulungin ko silang lahat. Subukan ninyo. Try to take it — try to do it and I will do it [Impeach me? I will jail them all. Try to do it and I will do it],” Duterte said.
According to Panelo, the President was actually seeking to protect the entire nation, not only its marine resources, after he refused to go to war with China over the territorial conflict.
He said the President’s threat to jail critics seeking his impeachment was “a righteous indignation.”
He said Duterte was “incensed because he cannot understand why these people were against his policies cannot understand, even visualize that what he is doing is for the good the country.”
“Papakamatay na nga iyong mama, hindi pa nila ma-appreciate, kaya siya inis na inis [He’s willing to die for the country and yet they cannot appreciate it. That’s why he’s incensed],” he said.
“How can he be violating (the Constitution)? He’s even going beyond the provision that says you protect the mineral, maritime (resources). What he’s actually doing is protecting the entire Philippines. We can’t use those resources if we are all gone,” he said.