LUCENA CITY, Quezon - President Rodrigo Duterte said he thanked President Benigno Aquino III for giving the Philippines the "ace card" in the issue of the country's overlapping claims with China.
Speaking at the Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) headquarters here, Duterte said former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo advised “caution,” while former President and Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada suggested “restraint.”
“Si President Aquino, ganun naman, but he won for us the case. Kaya ako nagsabi na maraming salamat for giving us the ace card. It was he who filed -- it was upon his instruction,” Duterte said.
All four former Presidents, including Fidel Ramos, who was recently appointed by Duterte as special envoy to China, attended the NSC meeting convened by Duterte in Malacañang Wednesday night.
“During my watch, medyo dahan-dahan lang ako. Pag daanan mo sa init ng ulo, patay na. Your life is not something I can just throw away,” Duterte told the troops from the military and the police that had gathered at Camp Guillermo Nakar.
On July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines, as it invalidated China’s so-called nine-dash line, a boundary that is the basis for its 69-year-old claim to roughly 85 percent of the South China Sea.
Manila refers to parts of the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte said he trusted Ramos to do his job in dealing with China.
“Let Ramos navigate... maybe when the final talks are there, tapos kaharap na kami then that will be the time na mag-prangkahan tayo. This is our position. This is what we have, we will not go out of it. We talk,” he said.
“So what is your position? Ganun ‘yun, as of this time, it is not yet right to just come up with ano -- magulo yan eh so we take the advice of our elders,” Duterte said. —NB, GMA News