MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III has appointed Senator Antonio Trillanes IV as special envoy to help in the government’s negotiation with China over the Scarborough shoal dispute, the senator himself said on Wednesday.
“[It’s a] back-channel arrangement so meaning I was the especial envoy of the President,” Trillanes told reporters in the Senate.
“Yes I had the authority of the President,” he said when asked if the appointment was made formal.
But asked again if the appointment was put in black and white, the senator said, “No black and white [deal].”
Trillanes quickly pointed out however that the President himself during a Cabinet meeting has announced that he had authorized him to talk in behalf of the government.
He also corrected presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda’s statement that it was him who approached the President to help in the negotiation.
It was Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Trillanes said, who asked him to help the government in one of their conversations sometime in May this year.