Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said Monday that China has attempted anew to "distort" facts following its latest statements regarding the collision incident off Ayungin Shoal.
"There was another attempt to distort the narrative by saying that there's a supposed promise. That has been put to rest already that there is no promise, and if ever there was such, such was, if ever, which we do not accept, rescinded," Teodoro said during a Palace press briefing.
Teodoro said China's "preface to their statements and their statements are to us a distortion of the truth."
The Defense chief was also asked about the discussion on the Code of Conduct of the West Philippine Sea in Beijing. Teodoro said he finds it ironic.
"Well, I think it is really very ironic that on this very day, there is the start of the second round of discussions on the proposed Code of Conduct which is hosted by China. Whereas just yesterday, they were in blatant disregard of international law and within our jurisdiction likewise," Teodoro said.
"So, what kind of good faith can we expect from them? And that we will wait for our representatives to that Code of Conduct meeting to disclose or to report to our people," he added.
Earlier, Chinese Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Zhou Zhiyong mentioned in a statement about Beijing's call "to tow away the illegally 'grounded' warship as soon as possible so that the peace and stability of the South China Sea will not be jeopardized and the common interests of countries in the region will not be affected."
Zhou was referring to the BRP Sierra Madre which has been grounded since 1999 at Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea.
Philippine officials already denied any agreement with China to remove the BRP Sierra Madre, stressing that the vessel is a permanent military outpost tasked "to protect and secure Philippine rights and interests" in the West Philippine Sea.
Marcos already directed an investigation into the latest collision incident and the Philippine Coast Guard said it would finish the probe in five days.—LDF, GMA Integrated News