By José Abeto Zaide
There was an electrifying moment at the Senate hearings last week, when an obviously piqued Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano called the heavens: “O tamaan na ng kidlat kung sino sa amin ang nagsisinungaling!”(May lightning strike the liar!).
Everyone was dumbstruck. More so, because even as they waited, nobody was struck by lightning.
Our chief diplomat was provoked to make the incantation after a heated exchange with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Rep. Gary Alejano. When the two oppositionists claimed that PDu30 had ordered the military to cease patrols in the West Philippine Sea, Cayetano accused them of “politicizing” the issue. He said it was “very irresponsible of Sen. Trillanes and Rep. Alejano to say there are no patrols They endangered our security and our standing in this dispute.”
The DFA chief invited both political oppositionists for a briefing on DFA’s diplomatic protests against China; he would also show them our ongoing patrols in the West Philippine Sea.
In a backhanded compliment, he reminded that Trillantes’ backdoor channel with China cost us the loss of Panatag Shoal.
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As of my deadline today, Foreign Secretary Cayetano, Senator Trillanes, and Congressman Alejano are all extant and none have been struck by lightning. We can, therefore, neither confirm nor deny if anybody was lying. Or if everyone was telling the truth.
We asked Kapitan Kidlat about this conundrum; and he referred us to a seer who explained that since Cayetano was seated next to Trillanes, one or the other would have been collateral damage if lightning struck. It has always been the better judgment of Providence, we were told, to spare the guilty rather than to inflict harm on the innocent.
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On a related matter, Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque stressed the arrangement with China that allows Filipino fishermen at Panatag is a “goodwill” gesture on the part of the Chinese – and the right thing to do for the Philippines.
Gary Lising disagrees and says, “It is none of their [Chinese] business to be there, because Panatag Shoal only 230 kilometers west off Zambales is our traditional fishing ground.”
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Robredo: China’s “goodwill” over PH fishing ground in Scarborough “insulting” — News item.
Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo said that the Duterte administration should file a strongly worded diplomatic protest against over its insulting statement that Filipino fishermen were just free to fish in Panatag Shoal out of China’s goodwill.
For the same reason, Gary Lising agrees.
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Passport issue hounding DFA — News item.
Irate netizens swamped the social media account of Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano with complaints when he launched a new e-payment system for passport online application in Taguig City. Netizens aired their frustration over the difficulties in securing appointment slots at the DFA’s online passport application site.
Hope is just around the corner. Besides introducing e-payment portal to facilitate passport services, the DFA is adding 100,000 more passport application appointment slots to “address the current backlog in the online application and renewal system.”
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P10-B aid allocated for poor — News item.
Government also eyes P5,000 fuel voucher for each jeepney owner. Malacañang announced that the government will distribute cash subsidies to poor families and fuel vouchers to public utility jeepney drivers starting next month to cushion the impact of the new tax reform law.
And I thought that the PDu30 administration was phasing out the jeepney?
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