Press Release
June 27, 2019

Dispatch from Crame No. 544:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on Duterte's grant of EEZ fishing privileges to China


By allowing the Chinese to fish in the Philippines' EEZ, Duterte has committed three of the six grounds for impeachment: culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, and betrayal of public trust. If it is eventually proven that his motivation for this grossly unconstitutional act is his acceptance of a generous bribe from China, whether in the form of campaign donations or a share in Chinese business interests in the Philippines, then that would also include bribery and graft and corruption, or five out of the six grounds for impeachment.

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 three years ago on June 30, 2016.

No other president has probably committed more impeachable offenses than Duterte. The mechanism for a remedy is there, but it has been ill-suited for a political culture that values patronage and power over and above the rule of law, sovereignty, and national pride.

Hindi nga naman makakain ang pride at soberenya, pero sobra-sobra kung makapagpabusog ang pork barrel at ang kapangyarihang inutang sa Malacañang kapalit ng pagiging sunud-sunuran.

What are the people to do when the President and a rubber-stamp Congress have not only failed to secure the national interest but have actively given away or sold the Filipinos' sovereign rights to China in exchange for 30 pieces of silver?

Last April 16, 2019, a petition was filed with the Supreme Court by the Kalayaan Palawan Farmers and Fisherfolk Association against the Duterte Administration to enforce the Philippines' sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea under UNCLOS, the Philippine Fisheries Code, and the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the case of Philippines v. China. Insofar as challenging Duterte's treason and Congress's silence is concerned, the ball now appears to be with the third branch of our government, the Supreme Court.

Duterte ceding our EEZ to China will not be his last act of treason. This only makes the urgency of resolving the farmers' and fisherfolks' petition clearer. It may well be our last hope in stopping Duterte's unprecedented betrayal of the national interest.

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 544 here:

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