Dispatch from Crame No. 197: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on Duterte’s directive to stop construction in West Philippine Sea

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China keeps building, while our President behaves like a good lapdog to his Chinese masters and orders his own military to stop building sheds for troops defending the country’s sovereignty. The AFP should take note that their Commander-in-Chief is fast becoming, if he is not yet, the proverbial Manchurian Candidate.

Since when has the AFP taken orders conveyed from the generals of the People’s Liberation Army? Since when has our military become a mere sub-unit of the PLA, our generals forced to swallow and follow treasonous orders that practically ask them to abandon their posts and betray the national interest?

The upcoming ASEAN-China talks on a so-called Code of Conduct in the Spratlys will only reinforce the Philippines’ disadvantaged status quo position, vis-à-vis China’s unmitigated island-building and deployment of blue-water assets and Coast Guard in the area.

We have already won our claims at the International Arbitral Tribunal of the UNCLOS. That victory should serve as our framework in so far as bilateral and multilateral talks on the Spratlys is concerned. We are backed up by international law, the UNCLOS, an unprecedented victory in an international case, and the support of the world’s largest democracies. Only our Chinese lackey of a President continues to betray us and our victory, dragging with him the whole Armed Forces who still think they are following orders from a Filipino commander-in-chief, instead of a Chinese lapdog.

The AFP should be aware that there might be no turning back from this policy of subservience or defeatism. It could be that the status quo of Chinese dominance and Philippines’ defaulting in the Spratlys is firmly irreversible. In the future, despite Duterte, it will only have itself to blame for this most unfortunate state of affairs, where the Filipinos’ own defenders, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has allowed itself to become a mere annex of the People’s Liberation Army, as led by China’s Manchurian Candidate in the Philippines.

To the officers and men of the AFP, you have a long history of heroes and patriots. You should know treason when it rears its ugly head in your motherland. There is no more treasonous conduct and act of betrayal than relinquishing our Spratlys territories in the midst of an international decision saying we have every right to hold on to and defend those islands and atolls as part of our Exclusive Economic Zone, to the exclusion of China.

Do not betray your people and your country in this watershed moment of our sovereignty and independence. Do not follow Duterte down his traitor’s path. ###

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