Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. successfully lobbied for the opening of a Chinese consulate in Laoag when he was governor of Ilocos Norte, according to a United States diplomatic cable published online by WikiLeaks.
The "confidential" cable attributed to have come from a certain Kenney was purportedly sent to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United States Pacific Command.
Kenney refers to then US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney who is now counselor of the US State Department.
A portion of the cable reported that Chinese-Filipino businessmen had told a visiting US Embassy political officer in September 2009 that "they could discern no reason why the PRC (People's Republic of China) would need or want a diplomatic post in Ilocos Norte".
"They attributed the establishment of this consulate to close ties between Chinese officials and the Marcos family," the cable stated.
It was during the presidency of the senator's father, Ferdinand Marcos, when Manila and Beijing established diplomatic relations on June 9, 1975.
The consulate was formally opened on April 11, 2007.
"More than 500 guests from all walks of life attended the opening ceremony, including Francisco Benedicto, Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Governor of Ilocos Norte Province, Madam Imelda Marcos, respectable Governors and Mayors from other provinces and cities, and distinguished representatives from the Filipino-Chinese community. Ambassador Li Jinjun, Undersecretary Francisco Benedicto, Governor Marcos, and other distinguished guests jointly cut the ribbon and unveiled the Consulate Plate," an article posted on the Consulate's website said.
Marcos reportedly did not deny his participation in clinching Beijing's approval to set up another consulate apart from Cebu and its embassy in Manila.
According to the cable, the senator confirmed in a meeting with US embassy officials in Manila that he had lobbied Chinese government officials to establish the consulate, which opened in a ceremony on April 11, 2007 that was attended by Chinese embassy officials, Marcos, and his mother, former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
"Marcos said the Chinese had opened the consulate after considering the long-term outlook for Chinese interests in Ilocos Norte, including tourism and Chinese investment to establish the Laoag consulate," it said.
State-run Philippine Information Agency also reported that the consulate in Laoag is part of the trade and tourism agreement that then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao signed in 2005 during the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.
GMA News Online has yet to get a response from Marcos as of posting time.
Laoag City is the provincial capital of Ilocos Norte, the political bailiwick of the Marcoses which hosts Southeast Asia's first wind farm, nice beaches, sand dunes and historical spots.
While in the province, some Chinese tourists stay at the posh Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino, which was built in 1983 to serve as reception for the wedding of the senator's sister, Irene Marcos, to businessman Gregorio Araneta III. — APG, GMA News