By Mario Casayuran
Pro-administration Senator Maria Imelda Josefa ‘’Imee’’ R. Marcos Monday shrugged off moves by some quarters to file an impeachment complaint against President Duterte.
‘’That’s all noise. There is no impeachable offense. Let’s not talk about it because we don’t see any reason for that,’’ Marcos told reporters as the Senate opened its doors for the 18th Congress.
Former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert Del Rosario had said that Duterte could be impeached for allegedly failing to secure the Philippine territory against China.
Del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales had separately been detained by Hong Kong immigration authorities long after they filed charges of crimes against humanity against Chinese President Xi Jinping with the United Nations International Criminal Court at the Hague arising from the Philippine-China territorial claim over the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte, in response, said he would send to jail those who will impeach him.
An impeachment complaint is filed before the House of Representatives, and the legislators will determine if it is sufficient in form and substance and has probable cause.
The House will then transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate which will convene as an impeachment court. The senators will serve as judge during the impeachment trial.
On moves to file impeachment proceedings against the President following his recent talks with Xi Jinping, Marcos laughed off the basis of the impeachment proceedings on the mere conversation between President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
‘’Nakakatuwa naman pag pinagbawal ang pag usap usap ng heads of state. Talagang kinakailangan na may dialogue, may constant multilateral and bilateral negotiations sa bawat sandali bakit naman ipagbabawal yung pagsasalita,’’ she said. (“It is joke to make a big thing out of meetings between two Heads of State. There is a need for dialogues, constant multilateral and bilateral negotiations. Why should meetings be banned?’’she asked.
What is important is that the UN Arbitration Court ruled in 2016 in favor of the Philippines in its territorial dispute with China over the parts of the South China Sea when it rejected China’s historical claim over most parts of South China Sea.
What the two Heads of State discussed is the distinction between sovereignty and sovereign rights over the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
‘’In the EEZ, we have sovereign rights. We have the prerogative of sharing those rights with others. May prayoridad tayo sa economic activities sa kabuhayan dahil may prayoridad tayo, pwede rin nating ibigay sa iba,’’ she said. (“We have a priority on activities that affect our livelihood. We may even share it with others,’’ she explained.
Marcos said what is important is that the country’s leaders in the maritime, fisheries and the military sectors should meet to craft regulations on how foreign fishermen pay the country some $10,000 a day for the privilege of fishing in our EEZ.
‘Kung kailangn ng legislation handa ako na umupo, gawan ng legislation kung tantamount to a treaty obligation ito ay gawan ng paraan para itong sinasabing EEZ,’’ she stressed. (If there is a need for legislation, I am willing to sit down, if it is tantamount to a treaty obligation on the EEZ.)
Foreign fishing should not just come in and out the Philippine EEZ, she added.
Marcos said Filipino fishermen pay $10,000 a day to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Nauru as the country’s fishing grounds in the Southern Philippines, particularly in the General Santos area, are overfished.
These countries demand $10,000 a day, with or without any catch, she said.