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Chinese military officer helped Trillanes in backdoor job — Enrile

A Chinese military intelligence officer from the Chinese Embassy in Manila had helped Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV in his backdoor negotiations with China regarding the dispute over the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, according to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. In a report on GMA News TV’s “News To Go” on Monday, Enrile said he learned this from a reliable source.   “Because I understand that the channel established by Senator Trillanes is through the intelligence service of the Chinese military,” he said. “He was, I think, introduced or he got acquainted with the intelligence officer of the Chinese embassy here and that was the channel that was used to enable him to get to reach some government officials of China.”   Trillanes, who engaged Enrile in an argument last week over a proposed legislation seeking to split Camarines Sur into two provinces, has yet to confirm this.   In the TV report, Enrile said Trillanes went in and out of China without any record or asking permission from the Senate, which he said violated the chamber’s protocol. He said he was surprised when Trillanes started reporting to President Benigno Aquino III about his negotiations with China.   He also said his relationship with Trillanes, a neophyte senator, started to sour in July when he confronted him about the negotiations after a meeting with President Aquino, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, and other members of the Cabinet.   “Pinuna ko siya dun at pinagsabihan. Medyo naramdaman ko na sumama ang loob niya. Pagkatapos n’un nabalitaan ko na pinagsasabi niya na he is going to unseat me or, according to him, the Liberal Party,” Enrile said.   System for reporting   For Senator Gregorio Honasan, there should have been a clear coordination between the executive branch and Senate on Trillanes’ role in the talks with China.   “There must be a system for reporting. There are protocols to be followed especially when you are looking at the dynamics of inter-department or inter-branch relationship when the executive branch requests a member of the Senate to do something, whether it is backchanneling or not. Everything must be coordinated,” he said.   Honasan was a former aide-de-camp of Enrile but is widely believed to be a “mentor” of Trillanes. Both Honasan and Trillanes were former military officers who were once jailed for attempting to overthrow the government.   Vice President Jejomar Binay, for his part, said although there is nothing wrong with backchannel negotiations, Trillanes should have been more polite towards Del Rosario and not accuse him of treason.   “Mr. Senator, I’m sorry to say but your actuations d’un sa pagkakataon na ‘yun was very disgusting,” Binay said. Thankful to PNoy   Trillanes has yet to comment on Binay’s statement, but in an interview over dzBB radio Sunday, he thanked President Aquino for defending him.   “Nagpapasalamat tayo sa Pangulo at kahit papaano ay na-acknowledge niya ‘yung mga pinapagawa niya sa akin,” he said.   He believed there should be no issues about his negotiations because they delivered positive results.   “Sa akin hindi na importante ‘yan. Ang tanong dito kung nagawa ba ‘yung pinapagawa at kung may binenta ba tayo, kung nagawa natin ‘yung pinapagawa, which is pahupain ‘yung tension, tapos wala tayong ibinigay.”   Malacañang has refused to comment on the rift between Enrile and Trillanes. It is also not clear whether President Aquino will let Trillanes continue with his backchanneling efforts.   “That will depend entirely on the President. That’s usually assessed on a case to case basis and ultimately it will be the President who will be making that decision,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said. — Amita O. Legaspi/KBK, GMA News