Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s back-channel negotiations with China reminds me of the US bases negotiations in the early 1990s during the presidency of Corazon C. Aquino, mother of incumbent President Noynoy Aquino. Our “beloved” Cory disregarded the position of the Philippine negotiating panel headed by then Health Secretary Alran Bengzon and came up with her own position similar to the American position.
Reading the excellently researched and documented book, “A Matter of Honor: The Story of the 1990-91 RP-US Bases Talk” by Dr. Alran Bengzon, the conclusion is that President Corazon Aquino betrayed the Filipino people. It is a good thing that the Philippine Senate, then headed by Senate President Jovito Salonga, rejected the 1991 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Security between the Philippines and the United States on Sept. 16, 1991.
Bengzon, a 1991 Ramon Magsaysay awardee for government service, resigned in July 1991 as chair of the Philippine negotiating panel in disgust of what President Corazon Aquino had done. As he wrote in the foreword of the “Bases Talk Reader,” the accompanying book on key documents of the 1990-1991 Philippine-American cooperation talks, “the events of September 1991, with the Senate vote and the attempts by the Executive to overturn it, only served to confirm my conviction (of resignation).”
—RICARDO B. RAMOS,