Duterte-China West PH Sea 'deal': Panelo willing to face probe

Duterte-China West PH Sea ‘deal’: Panelo willing to face probe over it

/ 12:59 PM April 05, 2024

Duterte-China West PH Sea 'deal': Panelo willing to face probe

FILE PHOTO: Rodrigo Duterte’s ex-spokesperson Salvador Panelo. Joan Bondoc / Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Rodrigo Duterte’s ex-spokesperson Salvador Panelo is willing to attend investigations on the “gentleman’s agreement” that the former president supposedly entered into with China regarding the West Philippine Sea.

Panelo, however, could not help but take a swipe at Senator Risa Hontiveros, who filed Senate Resolution No. 982 urging the upper chamber to look into the controversial deal.


“That’s just publicity, in aid of grandstanding,” Panelo said in a press conference at Club Filipino in San Juan City.


“Kung pinatawag ako, bakit hindi (If I was called, why not)?” he nevertheless replied when asked if he is open to attending such a probe.

READ: NSC: ‘Gentleman’s agreement’ on West PH Sea violates PH sovereignty

Pressed further if ex-president Duterte is willing to participate in a Senate investigation on the issue, Panelo said: “He has to answer that for himself.”

Duterte has yet to publicly address the controversy since it emerged in late March.

Panelo then reiterated that Duterte has already denied entering into such an agreement with China, contradicting his fellow Duterte administration colleague, Harry Roque, who made the bombshell revelation last month.

“President Duterte said ‘I did not enter into any gentleman’s agreement whatsoever’,” Panelo said, citing his phone conversation with the former president on Thursday, April 4.


Roque claimed that Duterte made a verbal agreement with China that both sides would maintain “status quo” in the West Philippine Sea.

Duterte pivoted to China but President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. reversed this move as he approved joint patrols and military exercises with the United States in the West Philippine Sea, and allowed Washington access to four more Filipino military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

The resupply activity for the grounded BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal and the humanitarian activities in Scarborough Shoal become the flashpoint of tension between Manila and Beijing.

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Beijing continues to assert it owns almost the entire South China Sea, including most of the West Philippine Sea, even if such a claim has been effectively invalidated by a July 2016 international tribunal ruling that stemmed from a case filed by Manila in 2013.

For comprehensive coverage, in-depth analysis, and the latest updates on the West Philippine Sea issue, visit our special site here. Stay informed with articles, videos, and expert opinions.

TAGS: Duterte, West Philippine Sea

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