President Rodrigo Duterte answers queries from the members of the media at the Malacañan Palace on June 27, 2019.
Presidential Photo/Robertson Niñal Jr.
Duterte not scared of 'numbers game' impeachment, Palace says
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - June 28, 2019 - 4:44pm

MANILA, Philippines — Amid challenging his critics to file an impeachment complaint against him, President Rodrigo Duterte is confident that his allies in the Congress would back him.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president is not scared of impeachment.

"An impeachment is a numbers game. Super majority ngayon sa Kongreso baka sa Committee of Justice wala na kaagad 'yon," Panelo told reporters Friday.

Under the Constitution, a vote of at least one-third of all members of the House of Representatives is necessary to affirm a complaint or resolution of impeachment.

The Senate, meanwhile, has the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment.

Panelo insisted that Duterte's position on allowing Chinese fishermen to fish within the Philippine exclusive economic zone is not a violation of the Constitution.

"In fact, if you analyze what he is saying that is precisely in obedience to the command by the Constitution to him to serve and to protect the people," Panelo claimed.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio earlier said Duterte's pronouncements on allowing the Chinese to trawl in the country's EEZ is unconstitutional.

Carpio stressed that Duterte, as commander-in-chief of the military, is constitutionally obligated to protect the country's marine welath in its EEZ.

"The Armed Forces of the Philippines is specifically tasked by the Constitution to be 'the protector of the people' and to 'secure the sovereignty of the state and the integrity of the national territory,'" Carpio said in a statement.

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."

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, who led the Philippines in lodging a United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea arbitration case against China, shared the same sentiments.

"The Constitution states that the president and the military must secure the national territory and the national territory includes the exclusive economic zone... To violate that is really a basis for impeachment of the president," Del Rosario said in an interview with ANC's "Headstart" earlier this week.

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