Scarborough Shoal: Who’s guilty of ‘treason’?
In “Duterte scoffs at claim that China made him president” (News, 7/21/21/), President Duterte was said to be really pissed off at former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario who virtually accused him of having been bankrolled by China to win the 2016 election and now becoming its puppet.
Mr. Duterte lashed out at Del Rosario and accused him in return of being the one “liable for treason,” because it was during his watch as top diplomat under the presidency of the late Noynoy Aquino that Philippine ships withdrew from Scarborough Shoal during the 2012 stand-off with China, which resulted in the country losing control of the area to Beijing.
A little fact-checking is called for to see whose sense of history got skewed. Aquino’s former ambassador to Washington Jose Cuisia Jr. was the point man involved and, therefore, knew whereof he spoke. Mr. Duterte was then just mayor of Davao City, who knew nothing and didn’t give a hoot about international politics.
Cuisia said it was a US-brokered deal for China and the Philippines to mutually withdraw from the contested area to avoid a potential shooting war and pending a more peaceful solution to the conflict. The Philippines complied in good faith, but China did not.
So how is that “treason” in the mind of Mr. Duterte, who keeps reminding everyone he is a lawyer? He has been pushing the narrative that it was wrong for the Philippines to withdraw. Look who’s talking. Hasn’t he himself been “withdrawing” even from mere conversations adverse to China, out of fear of what China might do at the slightest provocation?
RAMON NORMAN TORREFRANCA
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