JV Ejercito: Tiglao should rectify ‘inaccurate, distorted’ information on BRP Sierra Madre

Former presidential spokesperson Rigoberto “Bobby” Tiglao should rectify the “inaccurate” information he wrote regarding the grounding of the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal to “accurately reflect actual historical events.”

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Sen. Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito (Senate PRIB Photo)


Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito pointed this out on Tuesday, August 15, reiterating his belief the former chief of staff during then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term, “distorted” former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s decisive action to assert the Philippines’ claim on its maritime territories even in the face of China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea.


“Mr. Tiglao’s column is patently inaccurate and distorts the reality of President Estrada's decisive actions against Chinese aggression,” Ejercito said in a statement.


“It is, thus, imperative that Mr. Tiglao's column be rectified to accurately reflect actual historical events,” the senator added. 


Tiglao, in his column published on Aug. 14, 2023 in The Manila Times, that then president Estrada, “promised” to remove the BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal in 1999.


The Chinese government recently claimed the Philippine government has a standing commitment to remove the vessel at the shoal. According to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that Manila had promised “several times” to tow the ship away “but has yet to act on it.”



But on Monday, Aug. 14, Ejercito, and brother, Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada strongly debunked Tiglao’s claim saying it was their father, who himself ordered the grounding of the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal. 


Ejercito said the decision was made in response to the heightened Chinese encroachment near Mischief Reef. 


“Instead of decommissioning the ship, President Erap acted on the recommendation of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and deliberately grounded the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal to establish a temporary base for the Philippine military in the area and assert our territorial rights,” Ejercito pointed out. 


“Until recent years, there were no reported issues between the Philippines and China regarding this matter. It's only now that the Chinese government is asserting their ownership over that area,” he said. 


“Partly at fault are the subsequent administrations that failed to follow through on establishing a permanent base in that part of the West Philippine Sea and advancing our claim over these disputed waters,” he lamented. 


Estrada, in a press briefing on Monday, dared the Chinese government to “name names” and identify the administration that made the commitment to remove the BRP Sierra Madre out of Ayungin Shoal, which he noted are all based on hearsay.