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National

Duterte challenges Magdalo's Alejano: Lead fight vs China, take Spratlys

File photos of President Rodrigo Duterte and Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has downplayed the impeachment complaint filed against him by Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano and challenged the lawmaker to go ahead and lead in challenging China's claim over territories that the Philippines insists are within its jurisdiction. 

"If he wants to fight with China, he can lead. I would be glad to send him as the first batch of delegation of Filipinos who'd want to take the Spratly Islands and all of those they occupied now,” said Duterte Sunday night in a speech before the Filipino community in Myanmar.

[READ RELATED STORY: I can't stop China from developing Panatag Shoal]

Alejano is planning to file a supplemental complaint to the impeachment complaint he filed last week that would include the chief executive's supposed inaction over the alleged intrusion of Chinese survey ships’ into Benham Rise.

Duterte then asked what Alejano and the Magdalo group were bragging about.

Ano bang pinagyayabang ninyo? Na you had your chance to show your bravery. Do not shit with me!" said Duterte.

Magdalo is composed of a group of former rebel soldiers that staged the 2003 failed Oakwood mutiny in Makati City and called for the ouster of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque is urging Alejano to withdraw his complaint against Duterte “to prevent an avoidable political turmoil that would paralyze law making in the House.”

“Resorting to impeachment and counter-impeachment would result in legislative paralysis,” said Roque.

He said that if Alejano would insists on his impeach moves against the President, it was likely that Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez would also push for Vice President Leni Robredo’s impeachment.

Senate president Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Monday took a hands-off position on the impeachment threats against Robredo, saying that “it is still theoretical now.”

Nevertheless, Pimentel said that, “But what I know of is that the Speaker has 230 plus followers in the House of Representatives. From party mates alone, he has 109. It is more than the threshold number of 100.”

Asked by reporters about of Duterte getting impeached, Pimentel indicated that the numbers won’t make the complaint fly in in Congress.

“’Yon na nga, 230 followers sa super majority, i-minus mo na lang ‘yong maybe hindi, 60, we need a minimum of one-third [That’s it, the super majority has 230 followers, minus about 60 House members, we need a minimum of one-third of lawmakers.]

Liberal Party senators, led by party president Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, on Monday urged Pimentel “to focus on the numbers that matter: the thousands of unresolved murders, the rising prices of basic goods, and the 13-million hectare undersea region rich in minerals and biodiversity of Benham Rise.”

“These are the numbers that we should all be focusing on, not the 100 votes of congressmen on the impeachment case threatened by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Solicitor General Jose Calida on Vice President Robredo,” the LP senators said.

They said that “instead of the life and death issues that confront our people every day like putting food on the table and our children’s safety, security, and future, politics is dominating the national discourse. Let us, the country’s elected national leaders, all return the focus on what the people sent us to the Senate to do: to improve their and their children’s lives.”

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