MANILA— (UPDATE) President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he will send his critics to jail should they file an impeachment case against him.
"I-impeach ako? Kulungin ko silang lahat. Subukan niyo. Try to take it, do it, and I will do it," Duterte told reporters in an ambush interview before Senator-elect Christopher "Bong" Go's oath-taking at Malacañang Palace.
He then dared his critics to try and file impeachment raps against them if they are brave enough.
"Takot-takutin niyo ako ng impeachment, p*t*ng *n*, subukan niyo. Sabi ni Erap, sa kangkungan kayo pupulutin, dito sa akin subukan niyo," Duterte said.
"Subukan mo. Kung lalaki kayo at matapang, may b*y*g, do it. 'T*ng *n*."
Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines (UP) Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, has said that Duterte could face a fresh impeachment complaint if government agencies implement his pronouncement that Chinese fishermen can venture into Manila's waters.
"Kung mangyari po iyun, i-implement nila iyan dahil sa statement ng Pangulo, pwede po siyang kasuhan ng impeachment," Batongbacal said.
Duterte earlier this week was asked if the Philippines should bar China from fishing in the country's exclusive economic zone. The President replied that Beijing and Manila are "friends" and that there should not be any "bloody conclusion."
His spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, later said the government would "tolerate" China's fishermen in the EEZ, where Manila has exclusive rights to resources, based on a 2016 ruling of a United Nations-backed court.