Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 27) — President Rodrigo Duterte threatens to jail those who will attempt to impeach him over the Chinese fishing in Philippine waters.
“I-impeach ako? Kulungin ko silang lahat. Subukan ninyo [Impeach me? I will jail you all. Try me],” he said after Senator Bong Go’s oath-taking late Thursday. “Do that and I will tell you. Subukan ninyo. I am challenging you to do it. You really want to force my hand into it? P***** niyo gawin niyo ‘yan [Son of a b**** do it].”
Constitutional expert Christian Monsod said earlier in the day that Duterte could be impeached on grounds of culpable violation of the Constitution or betrayal of public trust in an interview on CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Ngayon.
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio pointed out it is illegal to allow China to fish in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, as mandated by the Constitution. Duterte hit back at Carpio anew, saying that bringing up the Charter will diminish its value.
“Pupunta ako sabihin ko get out, because this is the Constitution. Sabihin sa’yo, ‘Naubusan ka na ng toilet paper? Gamitin mo ‘yan,'” Duterte claimed. “Ako sabihin ko, if you present to me a Constitution like that? And we have this ruckus claiming the same place in our jurisidiction? Sabihin ko, pag wala ka ng pang-ilo gamitin mo ‘yang Constitution mo. Because that means war. And that piece of paper, the Constitution, becomes meaningless, with no spirit, except desperation, agony and sadness.”
[Translation: I will go there and tell them to get out because this is the Constitution. They will tell you: You need toilet paper? Use that. I tell you, if you present to me a Constitution like that? And we have this ruckus claiming the same place in our jurisidiction? I tell you, if you have nothing, use your Constitution. Because that means war. And that piece of paper, the Constitution, becomes meaningless, with no spirit, except desperation, agony and sadness.]
He also said that invoking the 2016 arbitral ruling will result in a similar fate to that of Vietnam.
“Look at Vietnam. They asserted their coastal lines. They attacked the Coast Guard of China. They got a bloody nose. ‘Yan ang gawin ko? Kabago-bago ng frigates ko? [That’s what I should do? When my frigates are new?]” he said.
Duterte has said his previous talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping resulted in a deal that would allow the Philippines to enter Scarborough Shoal — the subject of a 2012 maritime standoff — in exchange for allowing China to fish in Philippine waters. The standoff prompted the Philippines to file a case for international arbitration against Beijing.
In 2016 the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated China’s claim to virtually the entire South China Sea. The ruling largely recognized the country’s sovereign rights in areas within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea that Beijing claims. Manila calls areas it occupies and claims in the disputed waters as West Philippine Sea. It includes Recto Bank, the site of the controversial incident wherein a Filipino fishing boat was hit and sank by a Chinese vessel on June 9.
The tribunal has said China violated the Philippines sovereign rights when it stopped Manila’s 2011 petroleum exploration in the Reed Bank, which it said is part of the Philippines’ continental shelf.