By Roy Mabasa
“May lightning strike the one who is lying.”
In these words, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano slammed Senator Antonio Trillanes and Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano for their alleged malicious insinuations against the Duterte administration over its policy on the South China Sea.
Cayetano was reacting Thursday to the series of allegations made by the two opposition lawmakers, the latest of which was Alejano’s call for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to divulge the number of diplomatic protests it has filed against China over the latter’s actions in the disputed waters.
Should the country lose even an inch of its territory, Cayetano said, “I will not only resign from the DFA, but will no longer seek reappointment nor run for any government position.”
“How come Congressman Alejano and Senator Trillanes can’t say the same thing. O, tamaan na ng kidlat kung sino sa amin ang nagsisinungaling (Let lightning strike whoever is lying),” Cayetano told reporters.
Cayetano, however, refused to disclose the actual figures of diplomatic protests already lodged against China, saying it is not in their “goal” to engage in a numbers game.
“You may agree or disagree with our approach but it is internationally accepted,” he said.
He assured that they are taking all diplomatic action that includes note verbale, verbal protest, written protest and sometimes, in the form of inquiry.
“We have the same objective as the past administration to secure our national territory and protect our sovereign rights but we will not announce to you every single time we do something,” he said.
Alejano had recently accused President Duterte of allegedly ordering the military and the coast guard to stop patrolling the West Philippine Sea.
Cayetano said he is 100 percent sure that Alejano’s claim is a blatant lie, adding that he personally saw the pictures and reports of the latest patrols conducted by the government in the area.
“We can assure our people there are regular patrols but I can tell you now it is very irresponsible of Sen. Trillanes and Cong. Alejano to say there are no patrols. They endangered our security and our standing in this dispute,” he said.