De Lima: Duterte ‘impeachable’ by allowing Chinese to fish in PH waters

Aika Rey

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'But the Duterte-controlled Congress is not expected to hold Duterte to account for these impeachable offenses anytime soon,' says Senator Leila de Lima

MANILA, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila de Lima said no other chief executive aside from President Rodrigo Duterte has committed more impeachable offenses, as he effectively gave China a go-signal to fish in Philippine waters.

“By allowing the Chinese to fish in the Philippines’ EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone), Duterte has committed 3 of the 6 grounds for impeachment: culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, and betrayal of public trust,” De Lima said on Thursday, June 27.

De Lima added that if it is “proved” that Duterte allowed this as his acceptance of a “generous bribe from China,” then it would include bribery and graft and corruption. This would bring the total number of grounds for impeachment to 5, she said.

Earlier Thursday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III invited those who believe that Duterte committed an unconstitutional act to file an impeachment case against the President.

“But the Duterte-controlled Congress is not expected to hold Duterte to account for these impeachable offenses anytime soon, even if the 1987 Constitution’s provisions on impeachment seems to have been tailor-made to fit Duterte and the infinite number of impeachable crimes he has committed since he assumed office 3 years ago,” De Lima said.

The West Philippine Sea issue heated up again after a Filipino fishing boat was sunk by a Chinese ship in Recto Bank (Reed Bank), a potentially oil-rich region in the country’s waters.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio refuted the Duterte administration, saying China can’t fish in the Philippines citing its unconstitutionality.

But the President said he “could not ban” China from fishing in Philippine waters as Beijing have “insisted it’s theirs.”

The Recto Bank is recognized as part of the Philippines’ EEZ, when the Philippines won against China in the dispute over the West Philippine Sea.

According to the Constitution, only Filipinos may fish inside the country’s EEZ. –

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at