Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday lashed back at Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque for downplaying allegations some local islands have already been sold to China and telling the public it was only a product of her imagination.
“You don’t even have to sell in name if it is already sold in fact. Let’s call a spade a spade, Mr. Roque. When they are given the opportunity to use and utilize and even abuse and exploit the resources therein, wouldn’t that amount to prostituting our islands? Katumbas ng pinakalamaking kasalanan na pagtataksil sa Inang Bayan! (That’s tantamount to utmost treachery to the country),” De Lima said in a statement.
“The incessant warning must not be responded to with childish rhetoric. You are not permitted to trivialize our concerns when the very relinquishment of our sovereignty is the accusation. This is a serious matter, which is why we are searching for answers,” she said.
“Mabigat na usapin, tapos ang sagot mo eh guni-guni ko lang yun? Ganun siguro kayo ka-guilty kaya personalan ang tira (It’s a very serious issue, and all you can say it’s just a figment of my imagination? Maybe it’s because you are so guilty, that’s why you choose to hit back at me personally),” the detained lawmaker said.
De Lima recently backed calls for an inquiry into the alleged Chinese companies wanting to develop three islands owned by the Philippines. These Chinese investors supposedly want to transform Fuga island in Cagayan, and Grande and Chiquita islands in Subic Bay into economic and tourist zones.
But some military officials raised concerns on the proposal and warned about it possible impact on national security given their strategic location.
De Lima said such issues should be addressed swiftly and decisively and urged the Duterte government to scrap such development deals with China.
But Roque merely took a swipe at De Lima’s call and reminded 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.
But De Lima retorted saying downplaying this issue by stating that the Constitution “will uphold our claim doesn’t change the fact that several lawmakers are once again pushing for Charter Change.”
De Lima said this might be the reason why Duterte’s allies are eager to expedite amendments in the 1987 Constitution as it could fast track the process of selling the country’s rich maritime resources to foreigners, especially to China.
“Ganyan naman ang galawan niyo, ‘di ba? (That’s how you pull off your strategy, right?). You and your ilk can tell the people all you want that only economic provisions will be amended but are we supposed to take this at face value when you’ve proven to be a two-faced liar all this time?” she pointed out.
“Every attempt at weakening our territory and diminishing our sovereignty must always be met with criticism and strongest opposition because it is a blatant betrayal of the Constitution and the sovereign mandate given to the government,” the lawmaker reiterated.
“Hindi maaaring ipasawalang-bahala. Imbestigahan at kastiguhin!
Our heroes did not sacrifice their lives—for you to only sneak such treacherous dealings. Bayan o sariling interes? For once, choose the Filipinos, not your Chinese masters,” de Lima emphasized.