Posts Tagged ‘Philippines’ sovereignty’

Philippines: Senator Calls Foreign Affairs Secretary “A Snake” Over Scarborough Shoal, South China Sea Affair (China Is Winning)

August 5, 2018

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Chinese bomber over the Philippines’ Scarborough Shoal

Rosette Adel ( – August 5, 2018 – 4:18pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV on Sunday slammed Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano for suddenly questioning the Aquino administration’s efforts over the Panatag (Scarborough) standoff.

For this, Trillanes called Cayetano, his former colleague and vice presidential rival a “political snake.”

“Sec. Cayetano has proven to be a political snake. The Panatag standoff happened in 2012 during which time Cayetano was still a loyal ally of the Aquino administration, so obviously, he never saw anything wrong with how PNoy resolved it then,” Trillanes said in a lengthy statement.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV called Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, his former colleague and vice presidential rival a “political snake.”

Presidential Photo/King Rodriguez, file
Cayetano earlier said the Philippines lost control over the Panatag Shoal under former President Benigno Aquino III’s administration.

READ: Cayetano fires back at Aquino: We both lost our hair, you lost Scarborough

The foreign affairs chief also questioned Trillanes’ back channel talks with Beijing, noting that the senator made 16 trips to China as Aquino’s emissary.

Cayetano claimed Trillanes had refused to reveal the purpose and nature of his trips when asked during a Senate session by then Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

Trillanes aired his side and said Cayetano previously defended him during his exchange with Enrile, citing that the DFA chief, was his minority leader then.

“In fact, I clearly remember telling him, as well as the other senators then, of the gist of my mission as back channel negotiator,” Trillanes said.

“For that matter, I had multiple media interviews about it but, again, Cayetano never saw anything wrong with it then,” he added.

Trillanes added that Cayetano is “pretending to be blind and deaf.”

The senator explained that he was designated as the back channel negotiator by Aquino in May 2012 to “de-escalate the tension in the shoal.” He said this was during the height of the Panatag standoff when there were about 80 to 100 Chinese vessels going in and around the shoal.

He clarified that Panatag Shoal is in Zambales area and is not part of the Kalayaan Island Group in Palawan.

Trillanes said part of his mission was to reduce the number of Chinese ships in the area and that sovereignty was not covered and was never discussed.

“The negotiations lasted for about 3 months, at the end of which we were able to reduce the number of Chinese ships in the area to just 3, all of which were positioned outside the shoal. In short, I was able to accomplish his mission,” Trillanes said.

Trillanes said the refusal of China to remove the three remaining ships in the shoal prompted Aquino to file the arbitration case which we eventually won in 2016.

“Those are the facts and the circumstances about this issue and I will not allow Cayetano to twist them,” Trillanes said.

‘Why not defend Philippines’ sovereignty?’

Trillanes, a fierce critic of the president, also questioned Cayetano and Duterte.

“Why didn’t you follow through on our historic victory at the arbitration court? Or better yet, Why aren’t you fighting for our sovereignty the way you promised during the campaign?”

In April 2016, Duterte vowed to personally ride a jet ski and plant the Philippine flag on the Spratlys Island or Scarborough Shoal so he could assert the country’s sovereignty amid China’s encroachment. He made the promise during the third presidential debate for the 2016 elections.

However, two years into his presidency, only National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Special Assistant to the President Bong Go and the president’s son Sebastian Duterte rode jet skis in the waters of Casiguran to assert claim on the undisputed Philippine Rise.

Duterte explained that he was not advised by the Presidential Security Group to push through with the jet ski plan due to lack of fuel.



Cayetano to Aquino: Who was in charge when you lost Scarborough Shoal?


  (This is what China cares about what people think….)

(Why give away what you own?)


Above: China’s seven military bases near the Philippines in the South China Sea


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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. China occupies the South China Sea illegally. Asean seems ready to agree to China’s “de facto ownership” — even though it violates rule of law.


Philippines: Duterte Says No Point in Confronting China over South China Sea — What if China treats Filipinos the way Duterte treats drug addicts?

April 27, 2017
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, right, of Brunei and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, chat as they walk for their bilateral meeting following welcoming ceremony for the Sultan Thursday, April 27, 2017 at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines. Bolkiah arrived Wednesday for a state visit and to attend the annual ASEAN Leaders’ Summit which the Philippines is hosting this weekend. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte dismissed the idea that the Philippines can pressure China through international opinion by raising the country’s legal victory on the South China Sea, saying those who want him to do so are dreaming.

Duterte also shrugged off China’s artificial islands within Philippine-claimed waters as a “non-issue” while speaking to reporters at Malacañan two days before the ASEAN leaders’ summit in Manila.

“It cannot be an issue anymore, (the islands) are already there. What would be the purpose of discussing it when we cannot do anything?” Duterte said.

When a reporter suggested that international pressure can mount on China, Duterte said: “(We) cannot do that, you’re just dreaming. Those are theories that you are dreaming (of), that’s really the Obama style. All dreams.”

For the Philippine leader, who is known to be friendly with Beijing and Moscow but hostile to Washington, the United States did not try to stop China when it started reclaiming disputed reefs and shoals in the South China Sea in 2013.

Duterte’s views did not consider that the US has been condemning and challenging China’s military buildup in the key trade route.

ALSO READ: Blatant gaps seen in Duterte’s South China Sea policy

Duterte has insisted that the award should take a back seat as his government resets direct talks with China on the issue, even as the Philippines has earned the nod of a tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that effectively ruled out China’s expansive claims in July last year,

“China has already said, ‘We will not honor (the ruling). So why would you insist that here, here it is,” Duterte said, who then made a slapping sound and let out an expletive. “You’re looking for trouble. Now, are you preparing for trouble? That’s the problem.”

He added that the best way to deal with China is by talking. “That’s the only luxury we have, talking. Action? Tell us how. Tell me. Educate me how.”

Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, opted to file an arbitration case against China after direct negotiations proved to be futile. China has long insisted on joint exploration and development within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Downplaying the award

The president, a former Davao City prosecutor, also appeared to be confused over legal terms used in the landmark ruling that covered the Philippines’ jurisdiction over several shoals and reefs in the Spratlys. While he tried to explain that the award does not rule on “territorial” claims, he erred in saying it also did not have a say on jurisdiction.

“Entitlements lang ang question d’yan sa arbitral, hindi jurisdiction (Only entitlements are questioned in the arbitral award, not jurisdiction). Not even territory. It is outside of our territory, but it is part of our… exclusive economic zone,” Duterte said.

“How will you raise the issue? It’s a non-issue. Why insist on it… no one will listen to you,” he continued.

The UN-backed tribunal’s verdict found that China violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by interfering with Philippine fishing activities and mineral exploration and by constructing islands.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, one of the most vocal champions of the Philippines’ claims, warned the government last month against issuing statements and actions that waive the country’s rights in the South China Sea.

“Avoid any act, statement or declaration that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea. This will preserve for future generations of Filipinos their national patrimony in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Duterte previously promised that he would raise the arbitral award with China at some point during his term as president.


 (Extrajudicial killings)


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FILE — In this Dec. 24, 2015, photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat approaches Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines, by international law. China says it is happy to control fishing in the South China Sea. Credit: Renato Etac

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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

Despite all this:



Philippine President Duterte: Pointless To Bring China’s South China Sea Misadventures and Contentious Activities Into ASEAN Summit — Smarter to avoid rows over sovereignty (Ignore the elephant in the room and we’ll all get rich)

April 27, 2017


Pointless To Bring Beijing Adventures At South China Sea In ASEAN Summit, Says Rodrigo Duterte

Rodrigo Duterte in past has been accused of taking softer stand on China. (Reuters)

MANILA:  Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said it was pointless discussing Beijing’s contentious activities in the South China Sea at this week’s summit of Southeast Asian leaders, and no one dared to pressure China anyway.

The no-nonsense former mayor scoffed at questions from reporters about whether China’s rapid reclamation of uninhabited reefs or an international arbitration ruling last year would be brought up with ASEAN leaders on Saturday.

“Who will dare pressure?” he told reporters at the presidential palace after meeting his counterpart from Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. “Who can pressure China? Us?”

The Philippines is hosting meetings of ASEAN this year. The bloc will adopt a softer than usual tone about South China Sea disputes and exclude references to militarisation or island-building, according to a draft of the chairman’s statement.

The statement would be a watered-down version of that issued last year and comes amid a charm offensive by Mr Duterte, who has opted to court China for its business and investment and avoid rows over sovereignty.

Mr Duterte has been accused by members of the previous administration of taking a defeatist position on China and on defending Philippines sovereignty.

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His predecessors in 2013 filed a case with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague to set the record straight on maritime boundaries. The tribunal did that last year, and invalidated China’s claim to sovereignty over most of the strategic waterway.

Mr Duterte, who has put the ruling on the back burner and said he will revisit it later in his term, said it was a waste of time for ASEAN to discuss that award now, and it was not relevant.

“Arbitral is simply entitlement. It’s not even a territorial thing. The only question at arbitral was entitlement, not jurisdiction, not even territory,” he said.

“How will you raise the issue? …. We cannot on our own enforce the arbitral judgment.”

(Reporting by Martin Petty and Manolo Serapio Jr, Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Peace and Freedom Note: There is a lot of simmering distrust of China. The ASEAN meeting is a good place for all the ASEAN nations to discuss their misgivings. Sovereignty issues and differences over international law never seem to go away no matter how much money changes hands… If China pushes west as the One Belt One Road plan suggests, there weill likely be more differnces over sovereignty and international law. Then what?

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FILE — In this Dec. 24, 2015, photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat approaches Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines, by international law. China says it is happy to control fishing in the South China Sea. Credit: Renato Etac

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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

Despite all this:

Center for Strategic and International Studies: What is The Position of the Philippines on the South China Sea?

March 3, 2017

By  – Reporter / @jiandradeINQ

/ 05:49 PM March 03, 2017

Senior officials of a Washington-based think tank group stressed the importance of asserting the arbitral tribunal’s ruling on the South China Sea, expressing skepticism over a code of conduct being pursued by member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

In a press conference on Thursday’s closing reception of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) international conference “US-Asean Relations: Charting the next 40 Years,” CSIS Southeast Asia program senior adviser Ernest Bower pointed out the popular clamor for the Philippines to assert its claim over the South China Sea using the ruling of the international court in the Hague.

“Tthere’s always war and peace. If I am not ready for war then peace is the only thing,” President Rodrigo Duterte told Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua. PPD/King Rodriguez

READ: Philippines wins arbitration case vs. China over South China Sea

“I think if President (Rodrigo) Duterte is reading the polls, he would think carefully about the July 12 decision because if you look at what Filipino people think they are very strong in the arbitration case in the South China Sea,” Bower said, pointing out that 82 percent of Filipinos want to see the arbitration case “followed up and followed through on.”

READ: 8 in 10 Filipinos want PH to assert rights in South China Sea—Pulse Asia

“It’s what Filipinos want to do and I think the Philippines showed a lot of courage. It had nothing to do with Philippine domestic politics, it had to do with the Philippines’ sovereignty and the rest of Asia and I think the world admired the Philippines’ courage and leadership to take that case and get the decision and I believe President Duterte would be wise to follow through on it,” Bower said.

According to Bower, the Philippines’ failure to invoke the arbitral ruling could endanger its security and sovereignty.

“I think the reason the Philippines took the arbitral case to the Hague is because they wanted a decision based on rule of law and they got a decision based on international rule of law about what the court thought about the South China Sea issue,” he pointed out.

He stressed: “To squander that opportunity to use such a high-level international legal standard would seem to put the country’s national security and its sovereignty at risk. Rolling the dice. I don’t think that’s the type of leader President Duterte is… He seems to be a very good reader of Philippine national opinion and I think, if I was him, I would heed my people on this question.”

Asked on the importance of establishing a code of conduct in the South China Sea, CSIS senior adviser and Southeast Asia program deputy director Murray Hiebert said, “The big question is if it is at all possible to do it. They (Asean and China) have been working on it for years,” adding that Asean would be better off focusing on other concerns.

“I think to put all the emphasis on the code of conduct is spinning their wheels. We took a long time to negotiate the declaration of conduct and then it took 10 years to put in some non-binding principles. So I’m not sure that’s the most effective way to negotiate to get what Asean wants out of China,” he explained.

However, Bower said that if China would be willing to add legally binding language in and relate it with the arbitral ruling, a code of conduct “would be a very good thing for China and for Southeast Asia.”

He pointed out, “I think China really has an opportunity right now to grab some moral high ground and actually make legal commitments to its neighbors in the code of conduct. So it’s a good opportunity to try and raise the standard for a strong, legally binding code of conduct.”

Amy Searight, CSIS senior adviser and Southeast Asia program director, said that while the code of conduct will not affect territorial rights in the South China Sea “if it’s binding and if it really has the right provisions in it, it could be marginally helpful for Asean.”

Bower pointed out: “Things we’re watching for are: would China declare an ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) over the South China Sea? Will the Chinese go further in militarizing the islands?  If Asean can get some commitments on those things in the code of conduct to not do that, that would be bountifully significant or maybe worth looking at.”

The two-day CSIS international conference held on March 1 and 2 brought together 40 academics, think tank experts and government officials around Southeast Asia to discuss the future after 40 years of US-Asean relations.

CSIS is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization providing strategic insights and policy solutions that help guide US decision-makers. RAM

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 (Includes commentary by former President of Columbia Gaviria)

Police reports showed 10 alleged drug personalities were shot to death in Metro Manila and two more in Bulacan – all by unidentified men on motorcycles – in what appeared to be targeted hits. STAR/Joven Cagande

 (President Trump says U.S. will respect “One China” policy.)

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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.