Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has chided Mr. Duterte for recently celebrating what he deemed as “deep and abiding friendship between the Filipino and Chinese peoples” amid Beijing’s unrelenting incursions in West Philippines Sea (WPS).
De Lima said that China is clearly taking advantage and bullying the Philippines as the former relentlessly refuses to recognize our sovereign rights in WPS and takes away the livelihood of Filipino people.
“Duterte should stop dragging the entire country with this so-called “deep and abiding friendship” with China. Ang pagiging tuta niya sa China ay hindi katumbas ng malalim at mabuting pagkakaibigan,” she said.
“Paano maituturing na kaibigan ang bansang patuloy na sumasakop sa ating teritoryo, ninanakawan ng kabuhayan at ginigipit ang ating mangingisda, at paulit-ulit na binabantaan ang mga kapwa natin Pilipino?” she added.
In a recent forum celebrating the 46th anniversary of Philippines-China diplomatic relations, Duterte commended the “deep and abiding friendship between the Filipino and Chinese peoples.”
“It is a bond that predates, by centuries, the formal establishment of diplomatic relations 46 years ago,” Duterte said in a taped message before the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. that led a celebration of the event.
The President was apparently echoing words used in a letter to him from his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping who marked the same anniversary by saying he was ready to work with Duterte “to achieve greater win-win results and mutual benefits.”
“It is not surprising that Duterte merely parroted President Xi Jinping’s words in his recent letter to him because he has, for years, kowtowed to China’s position on the WPS ruling. Everyone knows that Duterte cares more about keeping his unusual friendship with China than protecting our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” De Lima said.
“Baka win-win para sa China at kay Duterte. Mahirap na talagang magising sa katotohanan ang himbing na himbing sa kulambo ng kanyang mga kasinungalingan,” she added.
De Lima, who was part of the Philippine delegation who argued the country’s arbitration case against China over the WPS before The Hague during her stint as Justice Secretary, maintained that what Duterte is doing in the Philippines’ relation with China is “a strategy of subservience and servility which betrays the Constitution and the Filipino people.”
This April, De Lima filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 694 urging the government’s Executive branch to exert all legal and diplomatic actions on the Chinese government in asserting Philippine sovereign rights in the WPS.
De Lima is also among the 11 Senators who recently filed SR No. 708 urging the upper chamber to “condemn in the strongest possible terms” the illegal activities of China in the disputed waters. (30)