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Palace: China's so-called draft oil exploration deal needs PHL review

Malacañang said Tuesday any draft on the proposed joint exploration deal in the South China Sea will have to go through a review by the Philippines after two senators claimed a framework agreement has been prepared by China.

“It doesn’t matter who drafted it. As far as we’re concerned, you give us a draft then we will go over it. We have to see whether this is legal or not; whether it’s beneficial to us or not,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing.

Asked if the Philippines was agreeable with China dictating the contents of the deal, Panelo said: “No. I said even if China drafts it, it has to go over us; we have to review that.”

“In the same manner that if we draft it, it will have to pass through them, too,” he added.

On Monday, Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Francis Pangilinan  filed Senate Resolution 943, calling on the administration to release the “definitive draft” of the oil and gas agreement with China and warned against signing what China allegedly prepared because the Philippines “will lose its exclusive sovereign rights over its natural resources.”

The exploration deal in the South China Sea could be among the documents lined up for signing during the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said on Sunday.

The Palace earlier said it respects the Senate’s mandate to conduct an inquiry “in aid of legislation” into the potential deal on oil and gas exploration with China in the disputed waters. —LDF, GMA News