MANILA Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Wednesday expressed confidence that any impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte will not prosper.
I don't think they have a strong case against the President, Nograles said in an interview with Palace reporters.
Critics of the President had earlier claimed that Duterte's verbal agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping that allows the Chinese to fish in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as long as the Filipinos are allowed to fish in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal is an impeachable offense as it allegedly violates the Constitution.
It simply won't fly. Yun allegations ngayon, wala, mababaw(The allegations now, have nothing, unfounded), Nograles told reporters.
Meanwhile, Nograles echoed Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo's statement that mere filing of impeachment complaint against Duterte does not warrant an arrest.
Filing an impeachment is not criminal. But threatening somebody is, Nograles said.
Duterte earlier declared to jail those who would file an impeachment case against him in relation to his verbal agreement with Xi in 2016.
When the President answered the question directed to him by the media, I said, it was in the context that if you are threatening the President to some sort of action, and then you threaten him with an impeachment complaint, Nograles explained.
The mere fact you are threatening the President, the mere fact it is a threat, if it goes to the realm of the threatening, then it is criminal in nature. It is not the impeachment itself, he added.
Panelo earlier said that the chief executive's remark was only an expression of displeasure and disappointment.
It is a righteous indignation. He could not understand why critics and detractors cannot appreciate what he is doing, Panelo said.
Panelo said the President was frustrated by how his critics failed to see his intentions to protect Filipinos from possible armed conflict with China.
Critics claimed that Duterte has turned his back on the 22 fishermen whose boat sank after it was allegedly rammed by a Chinese vessel off Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea last June 9.
Panelo has said the Duterte administration is not abandoning the 22 fishermen, saying additional Coast Guard personnel will be deployed in the Recto Bank to ensure their safety.
He said government has already filed a diplomatic protest and may also file charges against the Chinese crew if proven that the alleged ramming and abandonment was intentionally done.
The government has also extended financial assistance and loans totalling to PHP45,000 each to the 22 fishermen aside from 11 fishing boats given to them.
The Presidential Spokesperson reiterated that the Duterte administration will continue to maintain the country's claims with respect to its territory and EEZs while also maintaining friendly relations with China. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency