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De Lima on Duterte’s claim that China is PHL ‘protector’: Hilarious

Detained Senator Leila de Lima described as hilarious the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte that China will protect the Philippines amid reports that the latter has installed missile systems in the Spratly Islands. 

“This is hilarious, because the only country from whom the Philippines needs protecting is China. Only Duterte needs China’s protection. The rest of us needs protection from Duterte and China,” De Lima said in a press statement issued Tuesday.

In a speech in Davao City on Friday, Duterte said China assured the Philippines that it will protect the latter from external threats.

American news network CNBC has reported that China has installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three reefs in the West Philippine Sea.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has filed a resolution seeking an investigation on the matter.

“I support the initiative of the Senate leadership to conduct a legislative inquiry on the deployment of Chinese missiles in the Spratlys,” De Lima said.

She said it is time for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to explain to the people its position on China’s move to put Palawan under the threat of missiles launched from the Spratlys.

“It is time for the AFP to confirm if they agree with their commander-in-chief’s position that the country that threatens our West Philippine Sea territories is now our “protector.” It is time for the AFP to clarify once and for all if it still intends to defend our remaining forces in the West Philippine Sea against China and traitors in our midst,” she said.

She said the Filipino people deserve better than the silent capitulation of its entire defense infrastructure to the single biggest threat to its national existence.

De Lima said no other country has violated the country’s exclusive economic zone nor harassed the military and Filipino fishermen except China.

“No other country has violated international law by building military bases on artificial islands within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on the basis of a maritime claim already declared illegal under international law. No other country has harassed and stopped the Philippine Navy and Air Force from sailing and flying to areas of the West Philippine Sea where we still maintain forces,” she said.

“No other country has denied access to our fisherfolk and citizens in the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal. No other country has pushed us back to the confines of our 12-nautical mile territorial sea, forbidding us to go beyond into our 200-nautical mile EEZ,” she added.

She added only China, among all the neighboring countries, has unilaterally pushed its maritime borders by claiming the whole South China Sea and threatened the country’s territorial integrity by installing missiles on islands.

She further said no other country is planning the deployment of tactical fighter and attack aircraft in the Spratlys capable of reaching Manila in minutes.

“Only China has done all of these. Only China among all the countries in the world threatens us. Only China presents a clear and present danger to our national security. And yet Duterte proudly exclaims that the one country who threatens us will be the same country who will protect us. If this is our defense policy on China, then the Filipino people are definitely screwed,” she said. — Amita Legaspi/RSJ, GMA News