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Supplemental impeach rap filed vs Duterte over West Philippine Sea, Benham Rise

In this photo, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano holds a copy of the impeachment complaint he filed against President Rodrigo Duterte at the House of Representatives. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines — Two weeks after filing his first impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano on Thursday filed a supplemental impeachment complaint against the president for his inaction over the issue on Benham Rise and the West Philippine Sea.

Alejano filed the supplemental complaint before the Secretary General of the House of Representatives around 10 a.m.

“Respondent Rodrigo Roa Duterte betrayed the public trust reposed upon him, culpably violated the constitution and committed the high crime of dereliction of his sworn duty as president when he utterly failed and/or refused to assert the country’s exclusive sovereign rights and maritime rights and territorial claims over Benham Rise and Panatag Shoal and the rest of the West Philippine Sea,” an excerpt of the 13-page supplemental impeachment complaint against Duterte read.

In a press conference, Alejano said Duterte's stance on the country's territorial claims was different from his campaign vows. He cited that Duterte repeatedly promised to defend the Philippines from China and even vowed to personally visit the Spratlys to assert the country’s sovereignty.

READ: Forget jet skis, Chinese choppers can take Duterte to disputed islands

“Kitang-kita naman po natin na salungat at ibang-iba sa mga ipinangako niya noong kampanya ang posisyon ng pangulo ngayon, makaraan ang eleksyon at matapos na siya ay maluklok sa pwesto,” Alejano said.

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“The president, instead, has taken a defeatist stance and openly signaled China to go ahead with whatever it intends to do in the West Philippine Sea. Ito ay maliwanag na makikita sa mga ilang nakaraang sumusunod na kaganapan hinggil sa usapin ng pambansang teritoryo,” he added.

RELATED: Duterte: China allowed to survey Benham Rise

The Magdalo solon also cited that during the onset of his presidency, Duterte already expressed openness to court China to avoid conflict on the competing claims over Spratlys Island and obtain investments and loans in exchange for the Philippines’ silence and inaction over the rights to the West Philippine Sea.

He said this led to the entry of Chinese survey ships in Benham Rise with a questionable purpose.

Alejano cited several instances when Duterte courted China while he repeatedly declared cutting of ties with the United States.

“Hindi pa man tinitignang maigi ang mga maaari nating maging hakbang patungkol sa West Philippine Sea ay desidido na ang pangulo na wala tayong magagawa upang igiit ang ating karapatan sa mga pinagtatalunang teritoryo. Bago pa man magsimula ang lahat, suko na si Pang. Duterte. At ito ay kapalit ng ano? Mga short-term investments at loans na sa huli ay gigipitin lang din tayo at itatali sa mga utang?” Alejano said.

“Sa katunayan, sa aking paningin kinagat ni Pang. Duterte and pain ng China at pumasok siya sa bitag nito. Habang ginigipit tayo sa ating mga isla ay sa isang banda nag offer ng investment at pagkakaibigan na sa pag sa ordinaryong tao ay pipiliin ang mas magaan at payapa. Lingid man o alam ng pangulo, malalagay sa balag ng alanganin ang ating mga claims sa kalaunan na di hamak makikinabang ang ating bansa at ating mga saling-lahi,” he added.

Alejano clarified that he is supporting good relations between the Philippines and China. However, he stressed that friendship with other nations does not mean you will compromise the country’s national interest and security.

Alejano filed the first impeachment complaint against the president last March 17. He accused Duterte of culpable violation of the Constitution, bribery, graft and corruption, betrayal of public trust and committing other high crimes, which are the grounds for impeachment under the Constitution.

The complaint stressed that Duterte publicly adopted a policy of promoting, encouraging as well as aiding and abetting in extrajudicial killing of persons suspected of being drug pushers, drug users and/or committing other crimes in his impeachment.

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