Palace slams De Lima for saying 3 islands were sold to China

The alleged sale of some local islands to China is nothing but a product of detained Senator Leila de Lima’s imagination, Malacañang said Monday. 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque took a swipe at De Lima over her latest allegation, reminding her that foreigners are prohibited from buying land in the country. 

"Siguro po talagang marami na pong guni-guni ang ating senador sa kaniyang kulungan. Bawal pong bumili ng kahit anong lupa ang mga dayuhan. (Maybe the senator has too much imagination inside her cell. Foreigners are not allowed to buy any land in the country)," Roque said during a televised press briefing.

Under the Constitution, only Filipinos have the right to own lands in the country. Some Charter change proponents however have suggested easing the limits on foreign ownership of land and other businesses to spur investments.

De Lima recently backed calls for an inquiry into the alleged questionable development of three islands by Chinese companies.

The senator claimed that Chinese investors supposedly wanted to transform Fuga island in Cagayan and Grande and Chiquita islands in Subic Bay into economic and tourist zones but some military officials warned about its possible impact on national security given their strategic location.

She said any intrusion into the country's territory should not be taken sitting down and be addressed swiftly and decisively. The senator previously appealed to the government to scrap such development deals with China.