Filtered By: Topstories

Marcos to Duterte: What did you compromise in 'secret' agreement with China?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Friday (local time) questioned his predecessor former President Rodrigo Duterte as to what he compromised in the "secret agreement" he made with China.

In a press conference with reporters, Marcos said that he had three questions regarding the supposed agreement — is there such an agreement, what was contained in it, and why was it made secret.

The so-called "gentleman's agreement" was acknowledged by the Chinese Embassy in Manila on Thursday, which its spokesperson said "effectively helped maintain the overall peace and stability" in the Ayungin Shoal, called Ren-ai Jiao by Beijing.

"The first question that I have is clear so now, we need to know, what did you agree to? What did you compromise? Ano 'yung pinamigay niyo? (What did you give away?)" he said.

"Bakit nagagalit sa atin ang mga kaibigan natin sa China dahil hindi kami sumusunod? Ano 'yung dapat naming gawin? Ano 'yung laman nu'ng secret agreement na 'yan?” he added.

(Why are our Chinese friends getting mad at us for not following? What are we supposed to do? What is included in that secret agreement?)

Marcos earlier said he was waiting for Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian to return to the Philippines and explain the said agreement.

The President had said he was "horrified" by the supposed agreement, which purportedly raises questions about compromising the territory and sovereign rights of Filipinos.

On Friday, Marcos repeatedly questioned why it lacked documentation.

"Tawag nila 'gentleman's agreement.' Tawag ko diyan secret agreement. Hindi namin alam, walang dokumento. Hindi ko nga maintindihan, very experienced lawyer si President Duterte. Eh ang abogado, gusto nila lahat nakasulat 'yan eh. Bakit walang nakasulat na kahit isang papel? Bakit walang walang announcement? Nothing. Bakit hindi nila sinabi?" he said.

(They call it 'gentleman's agreement.' I call it a secret agreement. We did not know, no documents. I do not understand, President Duterte is a very experienced lawyer and lawyers want everything written. Why is there nothing written on even a single paper? Why was there no announcement? Why? Why did they not say that?)

"Why is it secret? Because don't tell me it was just an oversight na hindi nasulat (that it was not written), eh deliberate 'yung hindi sinulat (it was deliberately not written). Deliberate 'yun. Somehow it was decided in the last administration that we will not announce it to the Filipino people, therefore it is a secret agreement," he added.

The agreement was bared by Duterte's former spokesperson Harry Roque, but its existence was denied by Salvador Panelo, the chief presidential legal counsel of the previous administration.

For his part, Duterte on Thursday evening said he conceded nothing to China during his administration, but he adverted to a "status quo" in which neither the Philippines nor China would make any move to disrupt the South China Sea, including the transport of construction materials to the BRP Sierra Madre.

Marcos said that while Duterte characterized the transaction as "status quo," China has maintained that there was an agreement made, but details were not given to him when he stepped into office.

"Sagot ko naman, wala, kami, tayong dalawa, wala tayong usapan at 'yung nakaraang administrasyon, wala silang sinasabi sa amin tungkol diyan, so papano namin magagawa kung gusto namin sundan, kung ayaw naming sundan, hindi namin alam," he said.

(My answer is none, the two of us have no talks and the past administration did not tell us anything. So how would we do it if we want to follow, or if we do not want to do so, we do not know.)

"Whatever policy we took vis-a-vis South China Sea, West Philippine Sea, was just continuing our foreign policy of maintaining the peace and promoting the national interest," he added.

Marcos also said that he disagreed with the idea of entering into a secret agreement, as any accords made with another sovereign state should be disclosed to the people, and treaties should first be ratified by the Senate.

"It should be known by all the local officials. It should be known by everyone because in that way, you're accountable. If it's a bad decision, you're accountable, sasabihin 'mali 'yung ginawa ninyo,' 'di ba (people could say 'you’re doing something wrong,’)" he said.

"Ano 'ang tinatago mo bakit di niya sinabi? What are you hiding? Why was it secret?" he added.

National Security Adviser Eduardo Año earlier said there was no document that would prove the existence of a gentleman's agreement between the Duterte administration and the Chinese government regarding the BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal.

In response to Duterte’s remarks saying Año should be asked regarding the agreement, Marcos said he already talked to the Cabinet official regarding the matter, but he only had "vague knowledge" about it.

"He said he had some vague knowledge that, of course, we were talking about China, but we are always talking with China because we're trying to minimize the tensions in the West Philippine Sea, so who were the others involved?" Marcos said.

The President also responded to "crybaby" and pro-America remarks made against him by Duterte, amid the joint naval patrols conducted in the West Philippine Sea by the Philippines, Japan, the United States, and Australia.

"I saw that. You know, to be a crybaby, you have to cry. Did you see me cry? I don't pay any attention to that. I really don't. That means absolutely nothing to me," Marcos said.

"We need to clarify the situation because nalalagay ang Pilipinas sa alanganin. Papano mo gagawin 'yung tama kung hindi mo alam na meron palang secret deal dun sa tabi, may side deal, and that's really what's happening here, so go talk to the former officials and see what they have to say," he added.

(We need to clarify the situation, because the Philippines is being put in jeopardy. How will you do the right thing if you do not know that there is a secret deal on the side, there is a side deal, and that's really what's happening here, so go talk to the former officials and see what they have to say.) — VDV, GMA Integrated News