Bobi Tiglao’s Manila Times column today lends credence to that staged chase between the “banca” of Chiara Zambrano and the Chinese Navy fast attack boat but I don’t think that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of National Defense are deliberately sabotaging the President by painting him in a corner.
Nonetheless Tiglao asserts that Secretaries Teddy Locsin and Delfin Lorenzana respectively were either victims or propagators of the “hoax” that a Chinese maritime militia was “intruding” into the Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef.
The Julian Felipe Chinese invasion is a hoax since the Chinese vessels — fishing, militia, whatever — were in Whitsun Reef that is a part of the Union Banks area. This was claimed and occupied not only by China (since 1988) but also by Vietnam (since the 1970s) as part of their South China Sea archipelago that the former calls Nansha and the latter Truong Sa.
Tiglao then writes…
To Secretaries Delfin Lorenzana and Teodoro Locsin: email or text me the part in the 2012 arbitration award that you claim ruled that only “Filipinos have the right to resources in Whitsun Reef, located within Union Reefs,” and I will stop writing columns forever. The award even ruled that fishermen from all nationalities could fish at Scarborough Shoal, which is four times closer to our mainland compared to the distant Julian Felipe. Read my lips: territorial sovereignty is superior to EEZ.
Then again, it would be impossible that the two don’t take their cues from the President. Diplomacy is a complicated game of chess. At this point, the US is engaging both China and Russia in a provocative manner which forces both to act in kind. The South China Sea has become a military theater where power is projected. We have to use our leverage to the hilt between the two because we need to given our precarious economic situation. We need more vaccines to get the economy back on track.
The Opposition is using three main issues against the administration; pandemic response, the economy and the South China Sea dispute. Their Hail Mary pass is the hope that the President either dies or they convince the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to mount a coup before the May 2022 election and install MaDumb as President. Our main duty as citizens is to uphold the rule of law and not allow another cruel trick to be played on our countrymen.
The Opposition is lazy because they don’t want to present a clear platform to the people. They believe that agit-prop is more than enough. The controversy over the community pantry is contrived to win the public over to their side. It is not spontaneously charitable but more magical realism.
The advantage is this early, we already know who Senators we should be campaigning against among those who are up for re-election. They don’t deserve to be in office if they continue to ride on the coattails of the Opposition.