MANILA - Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles clarified on Wednesday that filing impeachment raps against President Rodrigo Duterte is not a crime, but threatening the Chief Executive is.
“If you are threatening the President to some sort of action, and then you threaten him with an impeachment complaint. The mere fact it is a threat, if it goes to the realm of the threatening, then it is criminal in nature,” Nograles said.
“It is not the impeachment itself. Filing a impeachment is not a criminal. But threatening somebody, is.”
Critics of Duterte have pointed out the President may be impeached for failing to protect the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) after he said China can fish there.
Article 12 Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution states that “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."
Malacañang said the provision in the Constitution should be taken in relation to Duterte’s presidential mandate "to serve and protect the people," noting that the country’s claim in the West Philippine Sea might trigger a devastating war against China.