President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday downplayed the constitutional provision stating that the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines must be protected by the state.
"That is a provision for the thoughtless and the senseless. Protection on economic rights of economic zones, resources? I am protecting the country and the 110 million Filipinos," Duterte said.
His statement came after former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario said the President can be impeached for allowing China to fish in the said zone.
Duterte said he does not need to tell China what to do, because Beijing believes it owns the exclusive territory.
"Sabihin ko, 'Get out because this is the Constitution.' Sabihin sa’yo [ng China], 'Naubusan ka na ng toilet paper? Gamitin mo ’yan,'" the President said.
However, Duterte promised he will push forward the arbitral ruling which favored the country in a United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal and invalidated Beijing’s historic rights to resources within a so-called "nine-dash line" in the entire South China Sea.
The President remained in his belief that military conflict between the Philippines and China will be the only result if the former keeps disputing with the superpower for its sovereignty over the EEZ.
He also threatened to jail those who will file impeachment complaints against him. — With a report from Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News