President Duterte’s foreign policy on China and the West Philippine Sea is expected to continue in the next six years if Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wins the presidency in the 2020 elections, former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV warned on Wednesday, Nov. 3.
Speaking at a Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) forum, Trillanes said that the future policies concerning the West Philippine Sea will depend on the choice of the Filipino people come elections.
As early as now, the former senator said, some of the presidential aspirants have already declared their positions in relation to the West Philippine Sea and the Arbitral Tribunal ruling.
“For example, it is common knowledge within the political circles that Bongbong Marcos is aligned with China. So we expect that should Bongbong Marcos win in 2022, then we can expect more of the same foreign policy position that Duterte has imposed on us the past six years,” Trillanes said.
He explained that all questions about what the country can do to Kalayaan Island Group and Scarborough depend on the foreign policy position of the President “because in our country, everything would hinge on that.”
Trillanes stressed that this is why the 2022 election is “very critical” as “each candidate has his or her own foreign policy biases.”
“So it is critical if we pick the wrong president. Say Bongbong Marcos. Then there you go. You will have to grin and bear it while China will lord it over for the next six years,” he said.
Duterte has been criticized for “setting aside the arbitration ruling” on the territorial dispute through his defeatist stance against Beijing’s aggressive incursions in the region.