Sen. Risa Hontiveros PRIB SENATE

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros introduced a resolution on Wednesday urging the Senate to look into the supposed “gentleman’s agreement” between former President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“If confirmed to be true, this ‘gentleman’s agreement’ would amount to a renunciation of Philippine sovereignty,” Hontiveros said when introducing Senate Resolution No. 982.

“This 'gentleman's agreement' is a betrayal,” she said in a separate statement. “[This] The sham of a deal only gave Beijing more ammunition to assert its baseless [territorial] demands.”

TO READ: NSC: 'Gentlemen's Agreement' in Western PH Sea Violates PH Sovereignty

Prohibits

According to Hontiveros, the purported deal Duterte had reached with China prohibited the Philippines from repairing the BRP Sierra Madre, the rusting, beached warship that serves as the country's military outpost at Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the Sea of Western Philippines.

She highlighted that it was Duterte's former spokesperson, Harry Roque, who revealed that the former leader had agreed with his Chinese counterpart that only food and water would be brought to the soldiers stationed there.

“By virtue of the said agreement, the Philippines has effectively agreed to desist from bringing in construction materials to fortify the rusty and dilapidated Sierra Madre,” Hontiveros said.

Review required

“Without repairs to the BRP Sierra Madre, a World War II-era warship, the ship would soon collapse and, in the words of the former [Supreme Court Senior Associate] Judge Antonio Carpio, 'end our presence on Ayungin Shoal,'” he added.

The opposition senator maintained that the agreement, which Roque claimed was only made verbally, should be reviewed after the National Security Council (NSC) claimed to be unaware of the alleged deal between Duterte and Xi.

The NSC, however, stressed that the Marcos administration would continue its resupply missions to soldiers stationed in the Sierra Madre.

“Our commitment to maintaining [BRP Sierra Madre] it will always be there. Any attempt by China to interfere with resupply missions will be met by the Philippines in a way that protects our troops, both those doing resupply and those deployed. [on the shoal],” said NSC spokesperson Jonathan Malaya on Wednesday. WITH A REUTERS REPORT


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