Friday, August 3, 2018

"Who was in charge when you lost Scarborough Shoal?"- Cayetano to Aquino


Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has written former President Benigno Aquino III an open letter, pointing out the the Philippines lost control of Scarborough Shoal during his administration.

Cayetano posted the letter on his Facebook page after Aquino criticized the Philippines' proposed 60-40 arrangement with China ahead of the planned joint exploration of disputed waters in the South China Sea.

Aquino had also chided the Duterte administration for its supposed lack of transparency in its dealings with China, in the wake of its policy of quiet diplomacy.

"While we both lost some of our hair, your administration lost control of Scarborough and a great opportunity to expand tourism, infrastructure and agriculture," Cayetano said.

Cayetano was an ally of Aquino's, winning his re-election under the Liberal Party-led Team PNoy in 2013.

"We also lost many opportunities for cooperation in fields like science and technology, protection of the environment, among others, all because of the approach you, together with former Secretary (Albert) Del Rosario and Senator (Antonio) Trillanes, chose to adopt and implement," Cayetano said.

"Rather than debate which administration is more transparent and/or mislead people on many facets of this complicated situation, may I respectfully request that you answer the questions on people’s minds and help enrich public discussion on the issue," he added.

Cayetano asked how the Philippines lost the Scarborough Shoal to the Chinese and who was in charge during the crisis.

He also asked what Senator Antonio Trillanes' role was during the supposed back channel talks with China and who he talked to among Chinese officials.

Cayetano's questions to Aquino also included the following:

We note that there seems to be a denial all around of any negotiated joint withdrawal of both Chinese and Philippine vessels from the shoal. Was there an agreement? Brokered by who?
What was the US commitment on the WPS issue, if any? And how was this relayed to you or was this discussed with you directly when you sat down with President Obama at one point in time?
What did you discuss with President Obama? He reportedly affirmed to Japan that the mutual defense treaty will be put into action if the Senkaku islands are threatened. Did Mr. Obama tell you that the US does not get involved with territorial disputes like in the WPS? How did you respond to that?
What are your plans or proposals for oil and gas exploration in the WPS? Do you agree that oil and gas exploration and development will be very beneficial to all Filipinos?

"Our people await your response to these questions in earnest, to be fully informed finally of the background of our complicated situation. Your response will help us decide on how to proceed further in shaping our policy with China," Cayetano said.

"If, indeed, transparency is important to you as you claim, then consider your early response to these questions as crucial," he added.

Source: GMA

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