Del Rosario: China execs bragged they made Duterte president
MANILA, Philippines—Ranking Chinese officials have been bragging that they had been able to shape the outcome of Philippines’ elections in 2016, which put President Rodrigo Duterte in power, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario said.
The former top diplomat did not cite his source, however. But he said the information came from “most reliable international entity.”
“On Feb. 22, 2019, we received information from a most reliable international entity that high officials from China are bragging that they had been able to influence the 2016 Philippine elections so that Duterte would be president,” Del Rosario said at a forum on Monday (July 12) hosted by Stratbase ADR Institute, in time for the 5th anniversary of the UN-backed court South China Sea ruling that favored the Philippines.
“We believe that our Beijing post can easily validate this,” Del Rosario said.
“Moreover, subsequent actions of the President lend more credence to this information,” he added, citing a list of several instances that supposedly show the ties that bind Duterte and the Chinese government.
“As early as May 15, 2018, our President proudly declared in Casiguran Bay in Aurora that Chinese President Xi Jinping has sworn to protect him from moves that will result in his removal from office,” Del Rosario said.
In Davao, before leaving for China to attend the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia, Duterte “professed his undying love for the Chinese President.”
“It is certainly disturbing to see our President—who should be looking after his own people—relying on a foreign leader for his security of tenure as President,” Del Rosario said.
“Such foreign leader represents an aggressor that is openly and illegally occupying land and waters that belong to the Filipino people,” he added.
In 2016, the arbitral court in The Hague rejected China’s false nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea. The West Philippine Sea belongs exclusively to the Philippines.
Duterte, who came to power shortly after the court ruling, has refused to enforce the decision in exchange for loans and investments from China that have not materialized four years into his presidency. Duterte would later call the ruling as a worthless piece of paper he would throw in trash can.
“Is it not about time for Filipinos to reject this man and what he represents?” Del Rosario said.
The former ambassador cited instances when Duterte supposedly compromised loyalty to his country, as reflected by his administration’s policies in the West Philippine Sea.
Those policies, citing a list from retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, included:
- Setting aside the 2016, arbitral ruling
- Limiting the Philippine Navy patrol to just the 12-nautical mile Philippine territorial sea
- Verbal agreement with Xi Jinping that allows Chinese fishermen to harvest fish in Philippine waters
Del Rosario also cited Duterte’s repeated assertions that China was already “in possession of the West Philippine Sea” which “recklessly concedes Philippine lands and waters to China.” Duterte also virtually surrendered the West Philippine Sea to China when he said he was inutil, or helpless, against Chinese intrusions into the area.
In one of his televised speeches, Duterte also described the arbitral ruling as a scrap of paper meant to be thrown in the trash bin.
Another statement, according to Del Rosario, that could be seen as Duterte’s way of escaping accountability was when he said in 2017 that only two out of his five statements were true and the rest should not be taken seriously.
“We can say that there are two out of several of President Duterte’s statements that have turned out to be true: first, that he is inutil in protecting the West Philippine Sea; and second that he ‘simply loves Xi Jinping,’” Del Rosario said.
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