Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has rejected claims thrown by former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile against him over his role in the 2012 standoff at Scarborough Shoal, saying the former president apparently chose him to hold backdoor negotiations because he found him “trustworthy.”
“Why did PNoy (Aquino) appoint me as backchannel negotiator? Because he found me trustworthy unlike Enrile,” Trillanes said in his Tweet.
Trillanes also denied that he bypassed then Ambassador to China Sonia Brady, saying that upon her arrival at the first instance, he briefed her on the whole talks at the Philippine Embassy “with no Chinese present.”
“That was the only time I met her. After that briefing, I concluded the backchannel talks,” he said.
He said his accusers should first check the time Brady first arrived in China: “Don’t take my word for it. Our media friends assigned at DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) can check when she first arrived in Beijing, not when she was appointed as ambassador.”
The former lawmaker, a known vocal critic of President Duterte, slammed the President and Enrile’s attempt to divert the public’s attention away from the issue at hand on the West Philippine Sea.
“Wag nyo ibahin ang usapan, wala sa Scarborough ang problema. Nalutas na ni PNoy yun. Wala na mga barko ng China sa loob nun. Wala ring reclamation dun (Don’t change the topic, the problem is not in the Scarborough. PNoy was able to solve that. There are no more Chinese vessels in the area. There’s no reclamation there),” he said.
“Nasa Spratlys ngayon ang problema na ayaw harapin ni Duterte, (The problem right now is in Spratlys which Duterte refuse to confront),” he also tweeted.
Duterte has recently earned flak for disregarding the Philippine’s historic victory in 2016 at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands which invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.