FORMER Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile viewed as “foolish” the plan to include the supposed agreement between President Rodrigo Duterte and China on Benham Rise in the supplemental impeachment complaint against the chief executive.
Enrile noted that Duterte, as the principal architect of the country’s foreign policy, does not have to consult the Departments of Foreign Affairs and National Defense in making decisions.
“He doesn’t have to consult anybody, he’s the President, for heaven’s sake. He’s the primus, the primary agent of the state on foreign policy in our interaction with other countries. He represents the sovereignty of the country,” he said in an interview before the necrological service for ex-senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani at the Senate.
Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th earlier said that a supplemental impeachment complaint would be filed against Duterte for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution in connection with the President’s admission that he allowed Chinese vessels to explore Benham Rise.
The complaint would also include Duterte’s statement about not stopping China from its plans to construct structures at contested Scarborough Shoal.
But Enrile said that those who are thinking of using the Benham Rise issue as ground for impeachment do not understand the Constitution.
“He’s the principal architect of foreign policy. He makes decisions on foreign policy without consulting anybody. How can you fault him?” the former senate president added.
The President, he added, can’t be compelled to disclose his policies or strategies on how to govern the response to China’s actions.
“You must always presume that the President is doing things for the country. That’s the presumption,” Enrile said.