Duterte-Xi deal ‘unconstitutional, not binding,’ says senator

Duterte-Xi deal ‘unconstitutional, not binding,’ says senator

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:46 AM April 06, 2024

Duterte-Xi deal ‘unconstitutional, not binding,’ says senator

Former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping pose for posterity prior to the start of the bilateral meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on August 29, 2019.  PRESIDENTIAL FILE PHOTO

The “gentleman’s agreement” that former President Rodrigo Duterte supposedly had with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the West Philippine Sea issue was unconstitutional and should not be binding on the Philippine government, according to Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III.

“Definitely it is void,” Pimentel, a bar topnotcher, told reporters in a Zoom interview on Friday.


“A single Filipino, no matter his position in the government, cannot bind the country in an informal, unwritten [and] unrecorded agreement,” he said.


“[Since] there is no record [of such deal], therefore it does not exist. If there is, that is not binding upon the Philippines,” he added.

READ: Duterte’s ‘unrecorded’ pact with China not binding for PH — Pimentel

Pimentel supported Sen. Risa Hontiveros’ resolution that was filed on Wednesday urging their colleagues to look into the supposed arrangement between Duterte and Xi that was revealed by Harry Roque, the former spokesperson for the Palace.

Roque said Duterte agreed with Beijing to limit Manila’s resupply missions to BRP Sierra Madre, a dilapidated World War II-era warship that serves as the country’s military outpost in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. According to the article titled “The Measure of the Sierra Madre” on the US Naval Institute website, the former USS LST (Landing Ship, Tank)-821 was intentionally run aground on May 9, 1997, or about 27 years ago.

READ: Duterte-China deal covers entire WPS not just Ayungin – Roque

Under the supposed agreement between Duterte and Xi, the Philippines would only bring food and water rations to Filipino soldiers stationed on BRP Sierra Madre.


Roque surmised that China had been harassing Philippine vessels on routine missions to Ayungin because of the alleged deal.

Asked if Duterte should be summoned to appear at the Senate hearing, Pimentel said it was up to the former president if he wants to address the matter. Duterte has yet to speak on the issue since Roque first spoke about it last week.

‘As claimed by Roque’

If at all, Pimentel said the questions on the issue should be directed at Roque.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who supposedly had knowledge of the deal as also claimed by Roque, may take part in the possible Senate hearing “if it interests him,” the opposition senator said.

Cayetano was the foreign secretary when the Duterte-Xi agreement was supposedly made shortly after Duterte was sworn in as president in 2016. At the time, Duterte has also rejected the country’s landmark 2016 arbitral court victory that invalidated China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea.

“If Roque was the source of all these [information], let him be ready with his proof or evidence so that he can convince us that there is really such an agreement,” Pimentel said.

“But if it’s only the word of Roque, I will remain unconvinced that there was ever an agreement. We will just go back to a ‘he said, she said’ scenario,” he added.

Pimentel, however, disagreed with Hontiveros’ belief that the so-called gentleman’s agreement between Duterte and Xi may be considered treasonous.

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“As a lawyer, we have a different meaning of treason. [It may only be committed] in times of war. [But the deal] could be unconstitutional. It could be unlawful,” Pimentel said. I

TAGS: Duterte, Xi

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