Philippine Credibility Questioned Over Alleged Duterte-Xi Secret South China Sea Deal

The Philippines faces scrutiny over a secret Duterte-Xi agreement on the South China Sea dispute, raising concerns about transparency and national sovereignty. Marcos vows to rescind any such deal, as the House considers an inquiry to protect the country's interests.

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Mazhar Abbas
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Philippine Credibility Questioned Over Alleged Duterte-Xi Secret South China Sea Deal

Philippine Credibility Questioned Over Alleged Duterte-Xi Secret South China Sea Deal

The credibility of the Philippine government is under scrutiny following allegations of a secret agreement between former President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding the South China Sea dispute. Lawmaker Francis Tolentino has raised concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding the alleged deal, emphasizing the need for any such agreement to be in written form and ratified by the Senate.

The alleged "gentleman's agreement" between Duterte and Xi has sparked outrage from current President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who has stated that his government is unaware of any such informal arrangement. The absence of a legal document or written record of the agreement has further fueled doubts about its legitimacy and the potential implications for the Philippines' sovereignty over its exclusive economic zone in the contested waters.

Former officials from the Duterte administration, including former spokesperson Harry Roque, have claimed that a verbal agreement was reached between Duterte and Xi, prohibiting the Philippines from constructing or repairing facilities in the South China Sea, such as the BRP Sierra Madre, a grounded Philippine warship in the Ayungin Shoal. However, President Marcos has been unable to obtain a clear answer from former officials regarding the specific details of the alleged agreement.

Why this matters: The controversy surrounding the alleged secret deal between the Philippines and China has far-reaching implications for regional stability and the ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea. It raises questions about the transparency and accountability of government actions and the potential erosion of the Philippines' legal claims in the contested waters.

The House of Representatives is considering launching an inquiry into the matter to ensure transparency and protect the country's national interests. Lawmakers argue that any agreement surrendering the Philippines' sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone would be constitutionally void. The lack of a written document leaves the interpretation of such verbal agreements open to divergence, potentially leading to misunderstandings and discord between the nations involved.

President Marcos has taken a firm stance on the issue, rescinding any secret agreement forged during the Duterte administration. He has emphasized the need for clarity and transparency in the country's dealings with China, particularly concerning the West Philippine Sea territorial dispute. With the controversy unfolding, the Philippine government faces mounting pressure to provide a clear and detailed account of any discussions or arrangements made with China regarding the South China Sea .

Key Takeaways

  • Allegations of secret Duterte-Xi agreement on South China Sea dispute, lacking transparency.
  • Marcos unaware of "gentleman's agreement", seeks to rescind any such deal.
  • Absence of written record fuels doubts about agreement's legitimacy and implications.
  • House considering inquiry to ensure transparency and protect Philippines' interests.
  • Marcos emphasizes need for clarity in dealings with China on West Philippine Sea.