Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said that the critics of President Rodrigo Duterte may have a hard time to use the verbal agreement between the Filipino leader and China President Xi Jinping allowing the Chinese fishermen to fish inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
In a statement, Drilon said that a verbal agreement between two people can’t be used as evidence in impeachment proceedings and the veteran senator believes that the President is also aware of it.
He pointed out that only signed documents or verbal testimony could be used as evidence.
“The President’s mind as a lawyer and as a prosecutor is working. Tell me, if it is a ground for impeachment, how do you prove a verbal agreement?” Drilon said who’s also a lawyer and former Secretary of Justice.
“The primary evidence would either be a document signed or a verbal testimony. There is no document. The verbal testimony is between the President and Xi Jinping. So, tell me, who would be witness to that?” he added.
According to Drilon, the verbal agreement between President Duterte and Xi could only be presented to the impeachment proceedings, if the Chief Executive voluntarily testify about it, which is far from possible.
“When it comes to impeachment, you observe the rules of evidence and the President, as a former prosecutor, knows this. You need either a written document or the direct testimony,” Drilon said.
“The President will not testify against his own interest in an impeachment proceeding. Even if the statement [on the verbal agreement] was reported in media, you cannot present them as evidence in impeachment proceedings because that’s hearsay,” he added.
The critics of the President wanted to impeach him because of the verbal agreement between Duterte and Xi.
Meanwhile, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin said that the verbal agreement between the two leaders cannot be enforced because it needs a document to implement it.
“The verbal agreement cannot be enforced. It cannot be enforced on us, because it’s verbal,” Locsin said. “You need a document to prove an agreement, that’s just the way it is.”