Marcos says he wouldn't have entered into ‘secret’ deal with China

Marcos says he wouldn’t have entered into ‘secret’ deal with China

/ 03:00 PM April 13, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C., United States — If it were up to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., he would not have entered into a secret deal with China to maintain a status quo in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), unlike what former president Rodrigo Duterte did.

Marcos said in a press briefing with the Philippine media delegation here on Friday afternoon that any agreement or transaction with another country should be made public to the people and the government agencies concerned.

The Chief Executive also noted that it has to pass through the Senate because agreements have to be ratified by the said body, adding that deals should be scrutinized so that people can extract accountability if anything goes bad.


“I will not enter into. I would disagree with that idea that you enter into a secret agreement.  You know, you have any secret, any agreement with another sovereign state, should really be known by the people, should be known by the elected officials, should be known by the Senate.  Because the treaty is to be ratified by the Senate,” he said.


“It should be known by all the local officials, it should be known by everyone. Because, if, if, that way you can, you are accountable.  If it’s a bad decision, you’re accountable.  People can say what you did is wrong.  Right?  So what is this that you hid, and why did you not tell us?  What are you hiding?  Why was it secret?” he asked.

Last March 27, Duterte’s former presidential spokesperson, lawyer Harry Roque, confirmed to reporters that Duterte and China had a deal to maintain the status quo in the WPS.  This means both the Philippines and China would refrain from constructing and repairing installations in the area.

READ: Ex-President Duterte, China had deal to keep WPS status quo – Roque

Roque however admitted that the deal was non-binding and could not apply during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s tenure.

However, Roque’s claim was countered by another former presidential spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, who said that Duterte did not enter into such an agreement with China.  Eventually, Duterte and China admitted that they had a deal, but the former president insisted that nothing was compromised in that agreement.

According to Marcos, past officials involved should explain this deal, especially since many people who were with the Duterte administration and are now with Marcos’ team maintain that they were unaware of such a deal.


Marcos said he had already asked National Security Advisor Eduardo Año, but the former military official denied knowledge of the deal as he was the Interior secretary when Duterte was in office.

“Yeah, we will talk about it.  But he is not part of the talks.  He was part of the Cabinet, but he wasn’t part of the discussion. So, he said that he had some vague knowledge, of course, that we were talking to China,” Marcos said.

“But we are always talking to China because we’re trying to minimize the tensions in the West Philippine Sea. But, who were the others that were involved?  Whom should the Chinese Embassy talk to to have a secret agreement?  Who are the officials they talked with?  Let’s ask them, let’s ask the officials.  Because if I made any agreement with anyone, you can ask the foreign secretary, right?” he added.

Earlier, Marcos had asked Duterte to clarify the extent of the deal with China and bare what he compromised in the controversial gentleman’s agreement.

He also said this gentleman’s agreement should be considered a secret deal because it was deliberately hidden from the public.

In the second year of President Marcos’ term, China became increasingly aggressive over the WPS, particularly when the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) assisted in resupply missions to Ayungin Shoal where Filipino military troops are stationed.

READ: PH vessel sustains ‘heavy damage’ in Chinese coast guard attack

The soldiers are manning BRP Sierra Madre, a Navy ship that was deliberately run aground at Ayungin Shoal in 1999.

Ayungin Shoal, which sits around 315 kilometers from the tip of Palawan, is well within the 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone of the country.

However, China believes the Philippines is illegally occupying the shoal by deliberately running BRP Sierra Madre on it in 1999.  Roque said these aggressive actions may be brought by the Marcos administration not adhering to the gentleman’s agreement.

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China also claimed that a former Philippine president promised to remove BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin, but President Marcos said he was not aware of such a deal.

TAGS: China, Duterte, Marcos

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