April 26, 2017 02:37 PM PST
SINCE 2007

Awful apologia

PH Political Scene
By DANIEL LLANTO

The Philippines renamed South China Sea as West Philippine Sea through presidential proclamation when the dispute with China over much of the shoals, atolls, cays, reefs, and sandbars there started to simmer in 2012. This immediately drew flak from China which sneered that the renaming would not change a thing about China’s efforts to assert “sovereignty” over the

area. Sovereignty is China’s shameless apologia for its occupation of and subsequent reclamation work on much of the disputed sea. It got to a point that US President Obama could no longer abide such acts of territorial bullying. Last week, Obama said China is not “abiding by international norms and rules and is using its sheer size and muscle to force countries into subordinate positions.” The President insinuated, giving voice to fears among Filipinos, that China intends to use the reclaimed for hostile military purposes.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs quickly responded in kind, accusing the US as an even bigger bully. Its official spokesman said: “I think everyone can see very clearly who has the biggest size and muscle in the world. But we have many times explained: China has always been a resolute proponent of peace and stability in the South China Sea. We have always proactively advocated using a dual track approach to resolve the South China Sea issue.” Labeling Obama’s remarks as irresponsible, China restated its “indisputable sovereignty” in the SCS and then its apologists went on to peddle the story that the construction activities in the disputed sea are for civilian, not military, purposes. In the words of Chinese MFA spokesman HuaChunying: “Civilian functions and facilities will be included in the construction for ships to take shelter, and for navigation aid, search and rescue, marine meteorological observation and forecast, fishery service and administration, so as to provide services to ships of China, neighboring countries and other countries that sail across the South China Sea.”

This is the same line echoed by a Filipino apologist for China, columnist Herman Tiu Laurel of the Daily Tribune, the same guy that jointly filed with the certified demagogue HomobonoAdaza a treason complaint against President Aquino with the Ombudsman recently. With a Chinese middle name, Laurel can be forgiven for taking the sides of China in the maritime dispute. But this position may be as or more treasonous than the supposed bungling of President Aquino in the Mamasapanoslaughter, for which Laurel and Adaza accused Mr. Aquino.

In Laurel’s view, the Chinese constructed the controversial facilities for use of neighboring countries in times of emergency. These can even be seen as an olive branch for everyone’s benfits, he insisted. Laurel argued by quoting the Chinese foreign ministry: “The Chinese government has been carrying out construction works (in the South China Sea) with the main purposes of optimizing their functionsas well as better performing China’s international responsibility and obligation in maritimedisaster prevention and mitigation, marine science and research, fishery production service and other such concerns.”

This is supposed to be the real, irreproachable reason behind China’s massive buildup in the South China Sea. But with the brass behavior and actions of the Chinese coast guard in the area, you might as well tell Laurel and his ilk that they’re full of s__t.

Consider: Manila protested China’s harvest of endangered giant clams in an incident on Jan. 22 at Scarborough Shoal. Chinese embassy representatives were summoned to the DFA to receive the two diplomatic protests.

Consider: Three Philippine-flagged fishing vessels---F/V OG Barbie, F/V Ocean Glory 2, and F/V Ana Marie---were rammed on purpose by Chinese Coast Guard Vessel 3412 on Jan. 29 at Scarborough Shoal, “causing damage to the vessels and endangering the lives and safety of the Filipino fishermen on board.”

Consider: China drove away two Philippine vessels that were supposed to carry provisions to government soldiers on board the rusty BRP Sierra Madre beached at Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

Malacañangis pleased with the conviction of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles over the serious illegal detention case involving whistle-blower BenhurLuy.On Tuesday, Judge Elmo Alameda of Makati RTC handed down the guilty verdict and sentenced Napoles to reclusion perpetua or imprisonment of at least 40 years for the serious illegal detention of Luy.Alameda also ordered Napoles to pay Luy P100,000 in civil and moral damages. Napoles’ brother and co-accused, Reynald Lim, however remains at large.

To the Aquino administration, this augurs well for the plunder cases lodged against Napoles and lawmakers implicated in the scam, notably Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. It could mean that government has a solid case against those involved and that the campaign against corruption is well on its way to making the guilty parties pay.

“This shows that our judiciarycan promulgate decisions within a relatively swifter period, thus complying with the constitutional right of a person to a speedy trial,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said. ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )