President Rodrigo Duterte answers queries from the members of the media at the Malacañan Palace on June 27, 2019.
Presidential Photo/Karl Norman Alonzo
Anyone can file impeach raps vs Duterte — DOJ chief Guevarra
(Philstar.com) - June 28, 2019 - 11:55am

MANILA, Philippines — Anyone can file an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Friday.

The president earlier threatened to jail his critics who would try to impeach him over his policies in the West Philippine Sea.

Guevarra, however, said he does not think Duterte meant what he said on imprisoning those who would file an impeachment complaint against him.

"In the end the question is, did the president act against the general interest of the entire Filipino nation," Guevarra said in a statement.

Unlike any ordinary action in court, the Justice chief stressed that an impeachment complaint is "not a strictly legal proceeding" as it involves "a whole gamut of political, economic and other considerations."

Critics have raised concern over Duterte's statement on allowing Chinese fishermen to trawl within Philippine exclusive economic zone as it would violate the 1987 Constitution.

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said failing to perform his constitutional duty to defend Philippine territory would be a basis for impeachment.

Under Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, "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."

READ: Duterte's remarks on sovereignty, EEZ 'erroneous' — ex-solgen Hilbay

Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 includes the country's 200-nautical mile EEZ as part of "Philippine waters," where the country has sovereignty and jurisdiction.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio also pointed out that the Philippines has exclusive soverignt rights to exploit all the fish, oil, gas and other mineral resources in its EEZ.

"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," Carpio said, citing the constitution.

Duterte, on the other hand, dismissed these provisions, which he said were for "the thoughtless and the senseless."

"The protection of our economic rights about the economic zone resolves this? I am protecting the country and 110 million Filipinos,” Duterte said Thursday. – Patricia Lourdes Viray

IMPEACHMENT MENARDO GUEVARRA PHILIPPINE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE RODRIGO DUTERTE SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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