THE recent verbal tussle between Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Antonio Trillanes IV not only revealed to us their low esteem for one another but also exposed to the world, especially to the People’s Republic of China, the weakness of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s leadership due to lack of cohesion.
At the same time, the Enrile-Trillanes clash exposed the lack of foreign policy direction of this administration and the seeming deep mistrust of the President on Albert del Rosario, his own foreign affairs secretary. It thus gives the surreal impression that the affairs of this government is being run like a university student council.
Who would have thought that Pres. B.S. Aquino looks down on Del Rosario’s capabilities? Otherwise, why would he appoint Trillanes as a clandestine mediator with the PROC despite his lack of experience in foreign affairs? This is humiliating for Del Rosario especially considering that he was not even informed of this amateurish and near fatal scheme.
All of these came to light after Trillanes, a former coup plotter, accused Enrile of being a stooge of Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. His accusation was swiftly met with a blistering litany by Enrile, the former martial law administrator, of details concerning his
clandestine meeting with PROC officials.
Enrile alleged, among others, that Trillanes has been secretly meeting with Chinese officials and that he could have committed treasonous acts because he seems to be working for the PROC, a potential enemy of our country. He stressed that in some instances, Chinese intelligence officers were assisting Trillanes in these mysterious meetings.
According to Enrile, Trillanes told the Chinese that we don’t have any military capability to defend our claims in the West Philippine Sea and that nobody here is interested about Panatag Shoal.
Malacañang admitted that Trillanes was appointed as a back channel negotiator but stressed that it was the senator who volunteered for the job. They added that it is not clear who paid for Trillanes’ expenses in these meetings.
But why was del Rosario not informed of Trillanes’ appointment as a back channel negotiator? If I were him I would have already submitted my resignation.
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I am not surprised that nothing came out of the official visit to the PROC by newly appointed DILG Secretary Mar Roxas. The Chinese knew by now that our government has no clear cut policy on Panatag Reef and Spratly islands and that the presidential cabinet is beset with divisions.
It is also possible that they suspect that Roxas is not the official representative of Pres. B.S. Aquino and could be waiting for another back channel envoy.
Though one thing is sure; the Chinese would take advantage of the disarray in the president’s cabinet and his obvious lack of experience in foreign relations. With this misstep, Aquino sent a signal that the only thing that our government could do is to rely on the U.S. to solve the Panatag reef impasse.
According to Trillanes, the Chinese do not want to deal with del Rosario because to their mind he is pro-American or Amboy but I think that it is not only del Rosario whom the Chinese suspect to be an Amboy but the President as well.
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