Clearly disgusted at President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest pronouncement on the West Philippine Sea controversy, a partylist lawmaker said the chief executive has gone “out of his mind” for denigrating the Hague ruling on the issue.
Magdalo Partylist Rep. Manuel Cabochan’s daring statement against Duterte was issued by the opposition lawmaker on Thursday, May 1.
He chided the president for his pronouncements that “are detrimental to our claims” over the WPS.
Earlier, Duterte belittled the 2016 arbitral ruling in the Hague that rejected China’s claims over the WPS, saying that he can throw it in the “waste basket”.
Observers said the president’s current position contradicted his speech at the United Nations General Assembly wherein he stressed that he would “reject attempts to undermine” the ruling.
Addressing the nation the other day, Duterte said the ruling that Filipinos hailed as a resounding legal victory against China, is a mere piece of paper because he pursued it and nothing happened.
Cabocan wondered whether or not Duterte has been taking counsel from his advisers, saying that the president’s stand on the WPS issue was unexpected coming from the head of a country that is being robbed of its territory.
“Duterte is out of his mind. The arbitration win of the Philippines is not just a piece of paper. It is a legal affirmation of what is ours; an affirmation that China’s claims are baseless and illegal,” said Cabochan, a former military officer.
“The President’s pronouncements are detrimental to our claims. Imbes na ipagtanggol ang ating karapatan at teritoryo ay nagiging abogado pa siya ng China. (Instead of defending our rights and sovereignty he has been lawyering for China),” he claimed.
Duterte, Cabochan claimed, had also once denigrated the Philippine Constitution as a mere “piece of paper”.
The partylist solon said Duterte should realize the “piece of paper” he wanted to ignore “demands him to defend our sovereignty.” “The paper that placed him in power is the same paper that can take him out if he continues to betray our nation. That is the same paper our Armed Forces upholds and defends,” Cabochan stressed.