Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the change of command for the new Armed Forces chief at a military camp in Quezon city, Metro Manila, December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte risks impeachment after he admitted “personally” killing criminals when he was the mayor of Davao City, said two Philippine senators.
The firebrand leader boasted to business leaders on Monday that as Davao City mayor he used to prowl the streets on a big motorcycle looking for “an encounter to kill” just to show to local law enforcers he can do it.
“I used to do it personally,” Duterte said. “If I can do it why can’t you?”
More than 2,000 people have been killed in police anti-drug operations since Duterte became president in July. Almost all were shot when they resisted arrest.
Another 3,000 deaths are under investigation, with critics calling them vigilante killings.
Senator Leila de Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte, said the president’s admission could be a ground for impeachment.
“That is betrayal of public trust and that constitutes high crimes because mass murders certainly fall into the category of high crimes. And high crimes is a ground for impeachment under the constitution,” de Lima told CNN on Thursday.
Senator Richard Gordon, who heads the senate justice committee, also said Duterte opened himself to possible impeachment proceedings following his controversial comments.
“When he says that, he’s opening himself up, so what’s the legal way, then go ahead and impeach him,” he told reporters, adding he was not surprised by the statement.
Duterte’s allies in Congress dared the president’s opponents and critics to file an impeachment motion, saying removing the leader through a political process is a numbers game.
There are less than 50 opposition lawmakers in the 293-member lower house of Congress. A two-thirds vote is needed to impeach a president.
Peter Wallace, who organized the business forum where Duterte spoke, thought the president’s statement was his “usual bravado.”
“He talked as he often does about drugs, and killings and criminality. And we had expected that he would but we were there not to listen to that,” Wallace told Reuters by phone.
“We were there to talk to him or listen to him about business issues and I was pleased that…he moved on to those subjects,” he said.
Justice Minister Vitaliano Aguirre dismissed Duterte’s statement as an exaggeration.
“It’s like a hyperbole, that’s the president, he is used to exaggerate just to put his message across,” Aguirre was quoted in radio reports as saying on Thursday.
Even if that were true, Aquirre said it did not necessarily mean that he violated the law.
“It could be done with a justifiable cause and justified circumstances as a public officer in order to arrest but if they resisted. He must have been forced,” Aquirre said, referring to Duterte. — Reuters
ConCom begins regional public consultations on June 18
FILE PHOTO: Consultative Committee
MANILA, Philippines — Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked to review the Constitution, will begin the conduct of public consultations across the country on Monday, June 18.
ConCom will visit several regions in the country to get the pulse of the public and inform them of the planned amendments to the Philippine Constitution.
ConCom’s first stop is Dumaguete City followed by Baguio City, Tacloban City, Butuan, and Legazpi City among others.
“Karapatan na magkaroon ng disenteng bahay, karapatan na magkaroon ng edukasyon at karapatan sa kalusugan. Bakit po mahalaga? 20 porsyento po. Twenty-six million Filipinos ang tinatawag ng NEDA as under the poverty line. Ibig sabihin po walang sapat na kita sa maghapon para kumain ng tatlong beses maghapon,” said …
(The right to have a decent life, the right to education, and the right to health. Why is it important? There are 20 percent or 26 million Filipinos whom NEDA calls as, under the poverty line”, which means they do not earn enough to afford three meals a day.)
It can be recalled that among the provisions ConCom seeks to add in the Constitution are the mechanism to end political dynasty; preventing politicians from party jumping, and the proposed prohibition among politicians to solicit or accept campaign contributions from religious organizations, and foreigners and from illegal activities.
In his speech in Davao City on Saturday, June 16 in line with the Eid’l Fitr celebration, President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated that once the federal government is formed, he is ready to step down from his office.
“The time for federalism has come to our country. We have to move away from the style of a unitary form of government,” said Pres. Duterte. “If you want a new leader to handle the transitioning of this country from unitary to federal, I would be happy to step down. I will resign,” he added.
ConCom aims to submit to the president the adopted draft on July 9 ahead of his State of the Nation Address. — UNTV News & Rescue
President Duterte inaugurates resort-themed Mactan Cebu International Airport
Mactan Cebu International Airport
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Together with stakeholders of Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and local officials, President Rodrigo Duterte led the inauguration of MCIA Terminal 2 in Lapu-Lapu City.
The project aims to give the public a world-class travel experience through its unique designs that feature the local culture to invite more tourists and business travelers.
MCIA’s passenger capacity is expected to reach 12.5 million following its opening.
The 65,000 square meters-wide Terminal 2 is expected not only to address the increasing number of passengers but also open more international flights in Cebu.
Mactan Cebu International Airport is one of the flagship projects of the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program of the present administration. — Gladys Toabi | UNTV News & Rescue
Duterte unaware of Ayungin Shoal harassment incident
President Rodrigo Duterte at a press briefing after his arrival from South Korea
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte seemed to be the only person unaware of the harassment incident against Philippine soldiers in Ayungin Shoal on May 11.
In an interview upon his arrival from South Korea on June 5, President Duterte said he has no knowledge of the incident and that he cannot comment on the issue.
“What kind of harassment in the first place before—before I commit myself to answer the question, what kind of harassment was this?” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque facilitated the inquiry from a reporter asking whether the President has already been briefed on the reported harassment by Chinese forces of Filipino soldiers in a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre stationed in Ayungin Shoal.
“This is the first time I’ve heard of it. It would be dangerous for me to answer questions without really having the slightest idea of what it is all about,” the President added.
Based on reports, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has already filed the Philippines diplomatic note to China over the incident. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue