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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Marcos can rescind Xi-Rody deal

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President Marcos can rescind the so-called “gentleman’s agreement” that his predecessor entered into with China which bars the Philippines from sending repair materials to the BRP Sierra Madre in the Ayungin Shoal, retired Supreme Court Justice Francis Jardeleza on Monday said.

“Former presidential spokesman Harry Roque said President Duterte did that because he wanted peace. Another president can have another view,” Jardeleza said in a radio interview.

“The President is the chief architect of foreign policy. We have a new president,” he added.

Roque earlier disclosed that based on the “gentleman’s agreement” with China, the Philippines committed to deliver only food and water supplies to Filipino troops on the decrepit ship grounded on Ayungin Shoal.

He, however, clarified the agreement does not involve the towing or removal of the BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal, nor was it binding on President Marcos.

Roque said the Duterte strategy showed that there is an “alternative” to the current administration policy.

“I would think Filipinos might know that this policy is better because it avoids the repeated instance wherein our countrymen are being water cannoned by China,” he said in a separate radio interview yesterday.

The President in August said there is no deal to withdraw the BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal, and that he rescinds any agreement should it exist.

“I’m not aware of any such arrangement or agreement that the Philippines will remove from its own territory its own ship, in this case, the BRP Sierra Madre from the Ayungin Shoal. And let me go further, if there does exist such an agreement, I rescind that agreement as of now,” he said in a statement last year.

Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio previously said the agreement was a “disguised surrender” of the country’s EEZ (exclusive economic zone) rights.

Meanwhile, House Deputy Majority Leader Jude Acidre of Tingog party-list group rejected the advice of former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for the President to step down amid the WPS tensions, and to hand over the reins of government to Vice President Sara Duterte.

“Former Speaker (Pantaleon) Alvarez’s remarks are not only defeatist but dangerously naive. To suggest that President Marcos Jr. should resign in the face of aggression is to misunderstand the very essence of leadership and national sovereignty,” Acidre said.

“We must confront our challenges head-on, not by backing down, but by asserting our rightful place in the international community,” he said.

House Deputy Majority Leader and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin urged Alvarez to focus on contributing to solutions rather than calling for the resignation of President Marcos.

“A public official who was voted for by the people can only be removed by the Filipino people who voted for him. It’s not fair for one person to call on the President to resign specifically if you cannot pinpoint the specific lapses,” Garin said.

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