July 7, 2019
Support impeachment raps vs Duterte, Congress urged
Manila, Philippines – A former solon and now fisherfolk leader is urging the newly-elected legislators in the 18th Congress to support the impeachment complaint his organization will file against President Rodrigo Duterte as soon as the lawmakers convened on July 22.
Fernando Hicap, then Representative of Anakpawis Party-list during the 16th Congress and now national chairperson of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), said his group “will lead the filing of impeachment against President Duterte for violation of the constitution, treason, and betrayal of public trust by compromising the West Philippine Sea and rights of the Filipino fisherfolk to China.”
PAMALAKAYA said President Duterte has violated the constitution when he had a verbal agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2016 that China can legally fish in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which according to the national fisherfolk organization, violates Article VII, Section 21 of the Philippine Constitution which states that “No treaty or international agreement shall be valid & effective unless concurred in by at least two thirds of all the Members of the Senate.”
President Duterte, the group added, also fails to “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”, which is stated on the Article 12, Section 2 of the Constitution.
“This treasonous verbal agreement between Mr. Duterte and Xi has resulted to intensified harassment among the Filipino fishers, massive poaching within our fishing territory, and environmental plunder and destruction of our resource-rich West Philippine Sea by China,” Hicap said in a statement.
At least 1/3 of House Members vote will be needed for an impeachment complaint to be endorsed to the Senate. With 303 members of the 18th Congress, this translates to at least 101 members.
Despite the jail threat and the intimidating supermajority of the administration in the lower house, the fisherfolk leader said his group will still pursue the impeachment raps to show that the fishing sector is unbound to state threat and intimidation, and is ever ready to defend the Filipino’s fishing rights in the West Philippine Sea.
“We call on the newly-elected representatives in the Congress to stand with the Filipino fisherfolk in upholding our sovereign and territorial rights, and to hold President Duterte accountable through impeachment over his complete surrender of our territory to China,” ended Hicap. ###