By Hannah Torregoza
At least two neophyte senators defended President Rodrigo Duterte against calls for his impeachment, saying they believe the Chief Executive is on the right track in protecting the Philippines’ territory.
Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go said any moves to impeach the President over his statements on the Recto Bank boat-ramming incident would not succeed as majority of the Filipinos believe in the President’s sincerity to serve public interest above anything else.
“Karapatan po nilang mag-file ng impeachment. Kahit sinong Pilipino naman po karapatan ‘yun kung sa tingin niyo mayroong nilabag (They have a right to file an impeachment complaint. Any Filipino has the right to file one if they believe there was any violation committed),” Go said in an interview at the sidelines of the Jesus Miracle Crusade (JMC) gathering at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.
“Subalit alam niyo, nag-iisip po ‘yang ating Pangulo. Isa po yang abogado, at alam ko po ang ginagawa ni Pangulong Duterte ay para sa kapakanan ng lahat bilang ama ng bansa, (But you know, our President is thinking. He is a lawyer, and I know that the President is doing his best for the benefit of everyone as the father of this country),” Go stressed.
But as of now, Go said he believes no impeachment case against the President will materialize.
“At sa tingin ko, hindi po uubra ‘yung impeachment sa ngayon. At ako, ibilang niyo lang po na isa po ako sa hindi papayag, (I think, an impeachment case would not succeed as of the moment. Include me among those who will not allow that to happen),” he said.
“Ako, kilala ko si Pangulong Duterte. Interes pa rin ng Pilipino ang laging mauuna sa kanya… Alam at nararamdaman iyan ng karamihan ng kapwa nating Pilipino, (I know President Duterte personally. He is after the interest of the Filipino people. And I believe most Filipinos can feel that),” he added.
Sen. Imee Marcos, for her part, said she believes Duterte did not commit any impeachable offense.
“Pasabog lang yang impeachment na yan. Wala namang impeachable offense…let’s not discuss that, dahil wala naman tayong nakikitang dahilan, (Talks of impeachment are only a distraction. There’s no impeachable offense…let’s not discuss that. Because we don’t see any reason to do so),” Marcos told reporters in a separate interview.
Marcos said Duterte cannot be impeached merely on the basis of his dialogues with other heads of states.
“Nakakatuwa naman kapag ipinagbawal yung pag uusap usap ng mga heads of states. Talagang kinakailangang may dialogues, may constant multi-lateral and bilateral negotiations sa bawat sandali, bakit ipagbabawal yung pagsasalita? (It’s funny if they prohibit heads of states from talking. Dialogues are a must; there is always constant multi-lateral and bilateral negotiations. Why should they be banned from talking?)” Marcos pointed out.
Marcos also sided with Duterte in insisting that the country only exercises its sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, not sovereignty.
“In the EEZ (exclusive economic zone), we have sovereign rights. We have the prerogative to share these (sovereign) rights with others pero hindi ito soberanya,” she said.
“So yun ang pinagkaiba. Sovereignty and sovereign rights need to be distinguished and what we exercise over the EEZ are sovereign rights,” she stressed.