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Del Rosario says Duterte can be impeached for not defending territory June 27,2019 - 11:07 AM

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte can be impeached for breaching the Constitution that mandates him to defend the country’s territory, Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Thursday.

According to Del Rosario, the Constitution states that the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is part of the territory that Duterte must protect.

“The Constitution states that the president and the military must secure the national territory, and the national territory includes the exclusive economic zone,” Del Rosario said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

“To violate that is really a basis for impeachment, he can be impeached,” the former DFA chief added.

READ: Carpio: Letting Chinese fish in EEZ violates Constitution

The former cabinet official was supposedly referring to Article XII Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, which says that the government “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.”

Del Rosario’s statements came after several pronouncements from Duterte, where he said China can fish along the country’s EEZ in the West Philippine Sea.

“I don’t think China would do that (to stop fishing in Philippine territory). Why? Because we’re friends,” Duterte said on Monday.

READ: Out of friendship, PH will ‘tolerate’ China to fish in country’s EEZ – Palace

Duterte’s remarks drew flak for being allegedly illegal and showing subservience to the Asian superpower.

READ: Letting Chinese fish in PH waters hit as illegal 

These issues surfaced after a Chinese vessel collided with a local fishing boat in Recto Bank — apparently within the Philippines’ EEZ — on June 9.  According to reports from the Department of Defense, the Chinese crew abandoned the 22 Filipino fishermen floating on their own at sea.

READ: China fishing vessel sinks Filipino boat after ‘collision’ in West Philippine Sea 

READ: Chinese vessel abandons PH boat after collision 

Del Rosario was recently featured in a controversy after he was barred from entering Hong Kong, even if he was carrying a diplomatic passport.

Current Foreign Affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that they will revoke all diplomatic passports issued to past government officials to avoid abusing the special passports.  Duterte also claimed that Del Rosario had no business in using the passport. (EditorJonathan P. Vicente)

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TAGS: Exclusive Economic Zone, impeachment, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

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