De Lima scores Duterte’s move to ‘set aside’ arbitral ruling on South China Sea

Published September 15, 2019, 4:36 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Hannah Torregoza 

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Sunday scored President Rodrigo Duterte anew for setting aside the Philippine’s legal victory in The Hague in favor of China’s exploration deal at the West Philippine Sea, saying this only proves he would never be “pro-Filipino.”

Senator Leila de Lima (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Leila de Lima

The detained senator lamented that with the Chief Executive’s pronouncement, he “will not only leave a generation of orphans as his legacy, but also a generation of beggars surviving on crumbs from China’s banquet- a banquet from our own territory.”

“The gall of the President to even think of setting aside our legal victory at The Hague to give way to an exploration deal with a country who, from the start, has never shown regard for our sovereign right as a nation,” de Lima said.

De Lima lamented that the President has put the country in an uncertain situation when he agreed to allow China, which has a vast interest in the country’s resources, to explore the Philippine’s own marine resources.

“Malinaw naman na sa relasyong Pilipinas at Tsina, lugi pa rin tayo, anuman ang hatian. Kasi hindi naman tayo dapat nakikihati lang dahil atin ang West Philippine Sea,” De Lima said.

“Any economic activity in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) should be in accordance with our Constitution and should uphold our sovereign right. Tayo dapat ang nagtatakda. Kung hindi, baka kahit tira-tira wala na tayong mapapakinabangan,” she said.

De Lima warned that the moment theDuterte administration enters into a joint venture agreement with China, “our rights over our own territory are diminished.”

“With all his promise to pursue an independent foreign policy at the beginning of his term, even declared with much bravado against US intervention, bahag ang buntot niya pagdating sa China (when it comes to China, he’s a coward,” she said.

“And yes, his independent foreign policy turned out to be not so independent after all. In fact, he would only invoke our sovereignty in the face of international indignation against his regime’s abuses,” she added.

” We clearly know where Duterte’s allegiance lies. He will never be pro-Filipino, kahit sa usaping karapatang pantao sa ating bansa,” she pointed out.