'Gentleman's agreement' gives away Ayungin Shoal –Carpio

By GMA Integrated News

Former Senior Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said that the "gentleman's agreement" ex-President Rodrigo Duterte entered into appeared to give the Ayungin Shoal to China.

"Yung agreement niya, pumayag siya na hindi natin suplayan ng... hindi natin i-repair ang [BRP] Sierra Madre. Ang pwede lang dalhin doon ay tubig at pagkain," explained Carpio in Mav Gonzales' Saturday 24 Oras Weekend report.

"Eh lublubog yon, kasi rusty nga," he added. "Kung lumubog yon, nawala na tayo. Papasok ang Tsina. Parang binigay niya ang Ayungin Shoal sa Tsina."

Carpio said that according to the arbitral tribunal, the shoal was part of the Philippine's exclusive economic zone, and the Philippines was the only country that can place a structure on it.

Duterte's former Spokesperson Harry Roque revealed the existence of a so-called gentleman's agreement by the former President with the Chinese government regarding the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

However, Duterte's Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo denied that there was such an agreement.

Last Thursday, Duterte referred to a status quo arrangement in which neither the Philippines nor China would make any move that would disrupt the South China Sea—including the transport of construction materials to the BRP Sierra Madre.

"The only thing I remember was that status quo. That's the word... No movement, no armed patrols there. As is, where is, para hindi tayo magkagulo," said Duterte.


"'Yun ang naalala ko. I do not even know the Ayungin Shoal," he added.

"I assure you that if it was a gentleman's agreement, it would always have been an agreement that will keep the peace in the South China Sea," Duterte said.


Meanwhile, international affairs analyst Professor Renato De Castro said Duterte "fell for a Chinese trap."

"Yung mga tao niyo, ibubuwis ang buhay nila, pababayaan niyo ang comfort nila, ang welfare nila, sa isang nabubulok na Second World War landing ship tank," said De Castro, adding that a frozen situation favored China.

As for international affairs analyst Professor Don Mclain Gill, the trilateral summit between the Philippines, the US, and Japan was not a provocation against China.

 "[The summit] is mainly to defend what is left of the status quo," said Gill, adding that this was crucial given the turmoil we are all facing today.

International Development and Security Cooperation Resident Fellow Joshua Espeña added that it was important for the Philippines to stand firm against Chinese harassment in the West Philippine Sea.

"We cannot allow the Philippines to be an example of how an aggressor can... makuha niya ang gusto," said Espeña. — DVM, GMA Integrated News