Alejano rebuts Cayetano: China has been in control of Sandy Cay since 2017
China has been in control of Sandy Cay since last year, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said on Monday, rebutting Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano’s claim that the Philippines did not lose the geological feature to Beijing.
Alejano said there were Chinese ships permanently stationed near Sandy Cay that prevent the Philippines from exercising control over the area.
He challenged Cayetano to join him in a trip to Sandy Cay to know firsthand the actual situation there.
“If Secretary Cayetano has strong belief that indeed we still control Sandy Cay, I challenge him for us to go there together with members of the media as witnesses. If we are not harassed or shooed away by the Chinese Coast Guard or the People’s Liberation Army Navy, then I will believe him,” he said in a statement.
Alejano also criticized Cayetano’s accusations that he was spreading fake news regarding the conduct of patrols in the West Philippine Sea.
“Ang tanong ko kay Secretary Cayetano, sino ba ang may history sa atin ng pagsisinungaling sa publiko? Secretary Cayetano should take note that I have wide intelligence network even in his own department. Ayusin niya ang script niya,” he said.
“All the information on the West Philippine Sea that I have revealed so far in the public were later either confirmed by events on the ground or by independent monitoring of various concerned organizations. I do not invent stories,” he stressed.
The former Marine officer stood by the veracity of the information he received that Malacañang ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to cease conducting patrols in the West Philippine Sea.
“I am 100 percent sure on the information I received. It was relayed to me personally by a source which has the authority to say that,” he emphasized.
Alejano said that according to his source, Malacañang ordered the AFP to desist conducting patrols in the West Philippine Sea to which the AFP purportedly disapproved because it would prevent them from performing their mandate. A compromise was then made to limit the conduct of patrol to once a month, he added.
“The compromise was to patrol once a month in order for the AFP to still perform its mandate but even this is hardly observed as there were instances that more than a month had already passed and not a single patrol is conducted,” Alejano said.
Alejano also pointed out that the information he received is consistent with the previous announcement of President Rodrigo Duterte, who said he would no longer allow patrols beyond our territorial waters.
“Even before I released this information, the President himself already announced that he would not want to conduct patrols beyond our territorial waters. This is despite Duterte’s recognition that the arbitration ruling favored the Philippines’ claims,” he noted.
Alejano further said he expects the Duterte administration to still deny the information he received.
“We expect the Duterte administration to always deny precisely because it is their policy to conceal from the public what the real situation is in the West Philippine Sea. I took upon myself the responsibility to let the public know because what is being assured by the government is different from the reality,” Alejano added. /kga
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