Law Dean explains Duterte caught between ‘the devil and the deep blue sea’ over EEZ

Law Dean explains Duterte caught between ‘the devil and the deep blue sea’ over EEZ

Respected lawyer in the legal community, former University of the East Law dean Amado Valdez gives his take on the issue of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The interpretation of the Constitution which pertains to the country’s EEZ is the issue:

Section 2 of Article XII — which the part about National Economy and Patrimony — of the Constitution, which says: “The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.”

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (photo credit to owner)

"Ang sitwasyon niya ay nasa pagitan ng demonyo at deep blue sea," Dean Valdez said on Super Radyo dzBB. "Yung pag-amin na 'yun, na wala kang kakayahang [lumaban] mas malaking... ito 'yung demonyo. Kaysa sasabihin na deep blue sea, sasabihin na kumuha kayo ng isda dyan."

Dean Valdez added the real issue was whether the country was equipped to go to war against China should the president decide to go that direction.

"Kaya ba ng Coast Guard natin na lumaban? Mas malaki ba ang mawawala? Mas marami ba ang mamamatay? Marami bang damage?," the lawyer asked.

"Parang suicidal situation. Palagay ko naman maski ang Constitution ay ipinagbabawal yan na gumawa ka ng hakbang para lalong ilalagay sa hindi magandang sitwasyon ang bayan mo."
A call for impeachment for the President critics have been floated, since allowing Chinese fishermen to trawl in the country's EEZ.

The Chief executive argued that the Philippines could not enforce its sovereignty over its EEZ, and the only other response available was to wage a war that the country could not possibly win.

Pres. Duterte also said that he would jail anyone who dared file an impeachment case against him.

"I-impeach ako? Kulungin ko silang lahat. Subukan ninyo," the president threatened. "I-impeach mo ako? I-deliver ko kayo sa Beijing lahat. You want me not only to violate the Constitution. How can I protect the resources when there's nobody to eat it?"

Exercises of sovereignty

Valdez, is of the opinion that the issue regarding the EEZ would be addressed over time.

"'Yung panahon na 'yun, you have to strengthen yourself," the law expert said.

He also points that the government could assert the Philippines sovereignty by filing formal complaints against the Chinese fishermen who rammed and abandoned the Filipino fishermen.

"At least maipakita natin sa China na kapag umulit kayo rito, kapag nagpunta kayo rito mapa-filean kayo ng kaso. These are the exercises of sovereignty na hindi ka lalaban sa isang gyera at maire-remind mo naman sa mga citizen ng China na hindi kayo immune sa aming prosecution," Valdez explained.

"Pag ganun ang astang gagawin natin, ang China hindi naman sasabihing 'Huwag niyo i-prosecute 'yan,' kasi wala naman silang jurisdiction dito sa atin. Doon mo na ipapakita ngayon ang sovereignty mo."

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Report from GMA News

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