Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has survived an opposition attempt to impeach him.
The right-wing Magdalo Party had moved to impeach the Philippines President, accusing him of betraying the public trust and abusing the Constitution in respect of his war on drugs.
However, the more important, though less headline grabbing reason for the attempted impeachment is Duterte’s historic rapprochement with China over disputed territories in the South China Sea.
Hours ago, President Duterte made a statement on forthcoming talks with China which aim to amicably resolve the disputes. He stated,
“I am pleased that we have established a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea. This is one step towards peacefully engaging disputes and I hope that the inaugural meeting … on May 19th will be a success”.
“We should use this mechanism fully to dialogue openly, monitor progress made, and to ensure that projects are implemented”.
The historic talks between Philippines and China hold the potential to turn regional adversaries into partners or at least into states which forge some level of bilateral cooperation.
This runs against the long held policy of the Philippine right who advocate a unilaterally anti-Chinese policy.
Rodrigo Duterte’s tough stance on the drug and associated crime problem is a deeply important domestic issue, one from which the wider world could learn a great deal. However, if Duterte is successful in both the prosecution of the necessary war on drugs and also building bridges with China, history will record the latter as the more profound of his achievements.
As it was, the impeachment attempt went nowhere.
All 42 members of the House committee reviewing the impeachment said that the claims were baseless.