MANILA- Critics of President Rodrigo Duterte are free to seek his ouster, Malacañang said Friday, even as it asserted that the chief executive has not committed any impeachable offense.
Any Filipino citizen can initiate impeachment proceedings against the President as guaranteed by the Constitution, however, filing one against Duterte “not only is misplaced, it is absolutely baseless in fact and in law,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“The Office of the President cannot and will not dissuade those individuals and groups, including left-leaning ones, to initiate such an action before the Congress, as the same is recognized by our Constitution,” he said.
Critics of President Duterte have claimed that he could face a fresh impeachment complaint over his pronouncement that Chinese fishermen can venture into Manila’s waters and if he fails to defend the Philippine national territory, which includes the exclusive economic zone, as mandated by the Constitution.
Fuming over the possibility, Duterte threatened to jail those who would seek his ouster, a statement that Panelo described as “righteous indignation.”
“The President is fealty to his sworn oath under the Constitution of serving and protecting the Filipino people,” Panelo said, noting that the results of the midterm polls validate the public’s support to Duterte as administration candidates dominated the elections.
Panelo maintained that Duterte has not committed any impeachable offense and that plans to unseat the chief executive won’t prosper.
“There can be no culpable violation of the Constitution, or any impeachable offense for that matter, when the President is precisely enforcing that very same instrument while honoring our country's constitutional obligation of observing amity with our neighboring states in conformity with our treaties and international conventions, as well as customary international law,” he said.
“The Palace is therefore confident that no impeachment complaint against PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) would prosper. As a friendly advice, we suggest that these people first conduct a reality check to avoid embarrassment,” he said.