Dispatch from Crame No. 229: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on Malacañang’s fence-sitting in the US-China Panatag Shoal incident


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The recent incident in Panatag Shoal exposes the difficulty of an AFP dealing with a Malacañang that is owned and controlled by China.

The Palace Spokesperson brushes off China’s threat on a Philippine historical ally exercising innocent passage within its waters, saying Malacañang is not taking sides, while at the same time the Defense Secretary thinks that the US Navy ship’s innocent passage is protected under the freedom of navigation principle in international law.

Roque is forgetting that the Philippines has a commitment under a mutual defense treaty with the US. And as far as we can recall, it has not yet entered into a similar military alliance treaty with China. So far, China’s alliance is only with its puppet Duterte, not with the Philippines. This is why the AFP is not bound to echo Malacañang’s dismissal of the country’s obligations to the US under the US-PH MDT. The AFP takes the country’s military alliance with the US seriously, and continues to observe it despite the occupation of Malacañang by Chinese agents.

China threatens a military ally in PH territorial waters. Roque and Cayetano continue to lawyer for China by saying it is a matter between China and the US, and that China has the right to threaten a Philippine ally in Philippine waters because Malacañang respects China’s claim over Panatag Shoal. This is the long and short of Roque’s and Cayetano’s statements.

Malacañang’s China lawyers have forgotten the PH’s defense treaty with the US, and like Chinese agents, have done everything to undermine it. Malacañang’s action does not represent the national interest of protecting military allies in PH territory. It represents China’s interests of fortifying its claim over Philippine territories. In exchange, China continues to sponsor and prop up its reliable puppet in Malacañang.

Historically, such material contradictions in a country’s national affairs do not last for long. Either the Philippines is completely drawn into China’s orbit under a Chinese-controlled President, or it resists and fights for its own and its allies’ interests within its own territory.

Malacañang’s fence-sitting and amnesia over the government’s political and military commitments under the US-PH MDT show that it intends to resolve this contradiction in favor of China. It is now the AFP’s call whether it will allow the interests of Malacanang’s transient Chinese puppet to override its own long-standing commitment to defend the national territory and push for regional security together with its allies.

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