Wednesday, September 26, 2018
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PANATAG SHOAL CONTROVERSY

Roque disputes Trillanes charge of turnaround

Harry Roque

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (File photo by JOAN BONDOC / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday shrugged off Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s statement that he had sold his soul to the devil.

Roque asked the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2016 to tell China to respect the right of Filipinos to fish at Panatag Shoal (international name: Scarborough Shoal), a rich fishing ground off Zambales province.

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China seized Panatag in 2012 and blockaded it, but the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, ruling in 2016 on the Philippine challenge to China’s claim to nearly all of the South China Sea, declared the shoal a common fishing ground for Filipinos, Chinese and Vietnamese.

On Monday last week, Roque presented to journalists in Malacañang three of the fishermen from Zambales he had represented in the United Nations to tell the press that Chinese coast guards whom they had reported to be confiscating their catch at Panatag Shoal were not harassing them.

It was that turnaround of Roque in favor of the Chinese—in line with the Duterte administration’s policy of befriending China—that made Trillanes say the former human rights lawyer had sold his soul to the devil.

Asked for comment on Monday, Roque shrugged and said, “Well, I am assuring the people: I will never sell my soul to Senator Trillanes.”

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TAGS: Antonio Trillanes IV, Harry Roque, Maritime Dispute, Panatag Shoal, Scarborough Shoal, South China Sea, UN Human Rights Council, West Philippine Sea
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