Cayetano airs advise to Pacquiao and critics of Duterte's stand on WPS issue

Published June 11, 2021, 7:55 PM

by Ben Rosario

Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano has this advise to Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and others who disagree with President Rodrigo Duterte’s foreign policies: ‘talk to him in private’.

Cayetano gave this advise even as he insisted that Duterte’s stance on the West Philippine Sea never favored China.

“Wala pong nagsabing perpekto po ang policy ng Duterte sa WPS (Nobody is saying that Duterte’s policy on WPS is perfect). But I can assure you, not a single square inch was given up to China,” claimed the former Lower House speaker during a press conference on Friday, June 11.

Asked to comment on Duterte’s dismissive attitude towards Pacquiao’s position for a stronger stand on the WPS, Cayetano said the issue cannot be reduced to “one liners”.

He warned that continued media discussion of the controversy “weakens our position.”

“That is why if you review the Constitution, usually, pagdating sa foreign affairs, nasa presidente iyan (when it comes to foreign affairs, it is the president who has a say),” said Cayetano, who served as foreign affairs secretary before running for Congress.

“And I know the president. If you don’t agree with his policies, see him in private, lalo na iyong maselan (especially sensitive issues),” he stated.

The former House leader is convinced that the WPS will be among the top issues that will be considered by Filipinos when they vote for a new president next year.

“But I think poiticians should be statesment when it comes to this. Hindi lahat ng tungkol sa South China Sea ay sa publiko pag-uusapan,” he said.

The WPS claim made by Philippines and China is considered as among the key issues raised during the 2016 elections that Duterte won.

Experts recalled that Duterte’s declaration during a presidential debate that he is willing to plant the Philippine flag in the contested Spratlys has clearly won him huge points from the voters. He declared then that he will go to the WPS area riding a jetski.