MP seeks Duterte's impeachment over territorial dispute

Indo Asian News Service

Manila, March 30 (IANS) A Philippine MP on Thursday filed a fresh impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte for his alleged "betrayal" of the country in a territorial dispute with China.

Congressman Gary Alejano appended it to the first impeachment complaint filed by him on March 16 to start impeachment proceedings against Duterte for his alleged involvement in murders and other crimes, Efe news reported.

The opposition lawmaker, in his fresh complaint, accused Duterte of failing to keep his promise on the Scarborough atoll issue and signing secret agreements with China, according to the document showed by Alejano after presenting it to the lower house of Parliament.

The complainant said Duterte "has permitted China to trample upon our country's rights and interest, and those of our people, apparently because he is afraid to offend his Chinese friends and/or because he has already made secret deals with them, to the grave and utter prejudice of our nation".

The complaint comes after Duterte, who has strengthened his relations with Beijing since taking power in June, admitted he cannot stop Beijing's activities in the South China Sea, disputed by six countries in the region.

Duterte was also criticised for refraining from claiming sovereignty over the Scarborough atoll, an area where Philippine fishermen have traditionally worked and which is now occupied by China, despite the Arbitration Court in the Hague ruling in Manila's favour last year.

The fresh motion is unlikely to garner much support as out of the 292 MPs, at least 267 are allies of Duterte.

In the original complaint, the opposition lawmaker sought Duterte's impeachment on the grounds of the alleged murders ordered by the President when he was the mayor of Davao as well as more than 7,000 killings as a part of his war on drugs.