War with China over islands? ‘Take lead,’ Duterte tells Alejano
NAY PYI TAW, Burma — President Duterte has sarcastically challenged Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano, a former military man, to “lead” in fighting global superpower China, following reports Alejano will further supplement his impeachment complaint against Duterte for the President’s latest pronouncements on Benham rise and the disputed parts of the South China Sea.
“For one, if he wants to fight in China, he could lead…I would be glad to send him as the first batch of delegation of Filipinos who want to take the Spratlys island and all of these occupied now—sige (go ahead). Siya ang mauna (He goes first),” Duterte said, in a media interview at the Horizon Lake View Hotel here, following his meeting
with the Filipino community in Burma.
Alejano has slammed Duterte for permitting Chinese vessels’ presence in Benham Rise, and taken note of criticisms hurled against the President for his perceived inaction on China’s construction activities in disputed features of the West Philippine Sea.
“Ano ba pinagyayabang ninyo? (What are you boasting about?) You had your chance to show your bravery. Do not shit with me. May panahon na na dapat lumaban kayo. Yung itlog ninyo dumating naman sa bunganga ninyo. Tapos sabihin niyo bravery (There was a time when you should have fought. But your balls got stuck in your mouths. Then, you talk of bravery),” Duterte said, referring to what he called Magdalo’s mutiny attempt during the Arroyo administration. Duterte twitted the Magdalo for “surrendering.”
“Your bravery was tested and you failed miserably. so do not talk about bravery and all of these things. You are actually a shame. Pinag-aral kayo, ginastuhan ng gobyerno tapos ganun ang iyong ginawa sa bayan (The government sent you to school and invested in you and then that was what you did to the nation),” Duterte chided the former mutineers.
“Anyway, ano ba ginawa ng grupo nila? (Anyway, what has their group achieved?) What have you done for the country? Nothing. Except to make noise,” Duterte said, of the Magdalo.
Duterte reiterated his stand that to engage China in a fight would mean “slaughter for the Filipinos.”
“Di mapigilan kasi di natin kaya ang China.Hindi nga mapigilan ng Amerikano….Ngayon tinutulak nila tayo para makipagaway. (It will be inevitable because we cannot take on China. Even the Americans could not stop China … Then they are pushing us to go to war.) And it would be a massacre… We are not in a position to declare war,”
“But I said to China that someday during my term as President, I would have to confront you about the arbitral ruling. And that would be maybe during the time you begin to extract minerals and the riches of what is inside the bowels of the earth,” Duterte added.
In his speech to the Filipino community, Duterte said, on Scarborough Shoal: “I will not insist on sovereignty or anything like that. It is not within our territorial waters.”
The arbitration ruling, Duterte said, “has nothing to do with the jurisdictions” but only gave priority “entitlement” over the area to the Philippines, so should China try to extract minerals from the area: “Kakalibitin ko siya: ‘Ako man rin may-ari niyan.'” (I will nudge them: We also own that.)
“So ngayon wala pa man [extraction], sige sila lagay ng structure diyan (Now that there is no extraction yet, let them place structures),” Duterte said.
In the media interview, Duterte conceded, however, that the construction activities “would disturb the navigation of the sea.”
“And that’s why it’s very important for China and the rest of the nations—especially the Asean—to come up with a code of conduct,” Duterte said. SFM