Presidential Communications Operations Office Presidential News Desk TALK TO THE PEOPLE OF PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE ON THE WEST PHILIPPINE SEA [17 May 2021]
PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE: Mga kababayan, magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat. I will not bother you with any other statements except to say that I would like to present to you the one of the most respected minds of our generation: Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. Sir, it’s your turn.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT JUAN PONCE ENRILE: Salamat, Mr. President, sa inyong anyaya sa akin na dumalo dito sa inyong tanggapan sa Malacañang sa araw na ito. At ako’y nagpapasalamat sapagkat binigyan niyo ako ng pagkakataon at mapakinggan ninyo ang aking damdamin tungkol dito sa usapin natin sa West Philippine Sea. Sa totoo lang, Mr. President, hinawakan din namin ‘yang problema na ‘yan noong panahon ni Presidente Marcos pero noon ay mas madali ang trabaho namin sapagkat hindi kagaya ngayon ang Tsina ay hindi pa masyadong malakas noon ang kanyang puwersa. Wala silang navy, wala pa sila diyan sa West Philippine Sea kaya madali ang aming trabaho noon.
Ngayon, sa inyong panahon medyo mahirap ang katayuan ninyo at binabati ko kayo sa inyong approach dito sa ating usapin sa West Philippine Sea. Hindi natin kailangan ang mainit na ulo diyan sa bagay na ‘yan sapagkat ‘yan ay malaki ang kaugnayan niyang usapin na ‘yan hindi lamang sa ekonomiya ng Pilipinas kung hindi sa seguridad ng ating bansa, ng ating mga kababayan at lalong-lalo na itong lupain natin na minana natin sa Espanya at sa Amerika. Kaya po ako’y nagagalak sapagkat pinakinggan ninyo ako at ipinangangako ko sa inyo na kung kailangan ninyo ang serbisyo ko, gratis et amore, para sa bayan, para sa inyo para sa ganoon ay makatulong sa inyo, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Salamat po. I’d like to thank you for this rare privilege given to me by you, accommodating me and the Filipino people. You can proceed now, sir, with your narrative for tonight.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Alam ninyo itong South China Sea ay masalimuot na usapin ito sapagkat ang China ay kaya gumagalaw diyan sa lugar na ‘yan sapagkat nauukol ‘yang bagay na ‘yan, ‘yang lugar na ‘yan sa kanyang katayuan bilang isang bansa dito sa ating planeta. ‘Pag may mga ibang bansa na makahawak niyang lugar na ‘yan, eh palagay ko mahihirapan ang Tsina sapagkat 80 porsyento ng kanilang enerhiya at pati na ang kanilang mga pagkain sa Tsina ay dumadaan diyan, at sa — ‘yan ay importante sa kanilang seguridad. Ganoon din ang Hapon, ang lahat ng kanilang pangangailangan na enerhiya, 60 porsyento ng kanilang enerhiya dumadaan din diyan. Ganoon din ang Taiwan at lalong-lalo na ang South Korea.
Kaya dapat kailangan na friendly ang approach natin diyan, hindi hard, assertive and aggressive approach. Sapagkat kung hindi tayo magkakaunawaan sa Tsina ay madadamay ang interest ng ating mga kababayan, ang ating ekonomiya, pati na rin ang ating seguridad dito sa usapin na ito. Mr. President, ako po bilang isang Pilipino at isang nanungkulan din, ako po’y anumang oras kung kailangan niyo ang aking tulong sa mga ano man na bagay sa ating bansa, gratis et amore, tawagin lang ninyo ako po.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Sir, ang totoo niyan ang bayan ang nangangailangan sa inyo hanggang ngayon. Ako, second lang ako doon sa linya, sir, at salamat.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Salamat, Mr. President, salamat.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, sir. Thank you.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Thank you, thank you very much.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: You can now — you can now proceed with the narrative you gave us. And if you can kindly relay to the nation what you told me in a conference just before we…
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Kailangan, Mr. President, kung maaari ninyong payagan na imungkahi ko ito. Dapat ang bansa nating Pilipinas sa inyong liderato ay gawin na malakas ang ating kakayahan na manindigan ng sarili sapagkat dito sa mundo na ito ngayon hindi tayong maaaring umasa sa ating mga kaalyado kahit na sila na ang pinakamalakas na puwersa sa ating planeta sapagkat marami din silang mga problema sa kanilang buhay sa kanilang bansa, marami pa silang problema sa panglabas. Kaya dapat palakasin din natin ang ating ekonomiya, ang ating puwersa militar.
At naintindihan siguro ‘yan ng Tsina sapagkat ‘yan din ang ginagawa nila para sa ganoon ay sila ay manatili na isang bansa na malaya. Kaya, Mr. President, I congratulate you for your effort to see to it that the country will survive in these critical times. Hindi dapat gamitin ang mainit na kaisipan na kagaya ng mga kritiko natin. Dapat balanced lang ang approach natin at mahinahon.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Sir, if you can kindly relate to us now what the — this is a — the problem of the West Philippine Sea…
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Alam mo, alam po ninyo noong ako’y nasa Senado, Senate President ako noon, eh inimbita ako ni President Aquino isang hapon doon sa Palasyo, doon sa Cabinet room. Noong dumating ako doon eh ako ang unang dumating. Pangalawa, dumating si Senator Trillanes, pareho kaming senador noon eh mayroon siyang ibinubulong sa akin na “treason, treason.”
Hindi ko naintindihan ‘yong gusto niyang sabihin pagkatapos noong dumating na si Albert del Rosario, kalihim ng Department of Foreign Affairs, at kasama niya ang Presidente umupo sila, bini-briefing kami Del Rosario tungkol doon sa nangyari sa Scarborough Shoal at mukhang nagkaroon ng alitan ang pangkat natin at ang pangkat ng Tsina doon.
Ngayon, sinabi ni Trillanes na nagpunta siya sa Tsina at kinausap niya ‘yong mga namumuno sa Tsina tungkol doon sa bagay na — sa problema na iyon. Eh ako naman bilang Presidente ng Senado noon, tinanong ko sa kanya, “Sino — ano — anong karapatan mo na nagpunta sa Tsina? Iyon ba ay kusang-loob mo lamang na nagpunta roon?” Sabi niya, “Hindi, nagpunta ako doon may authority ako.” “Eh sinong nag-utos sa iyo na pumunta roon?” Pagkatapos sumagot si Presidente Aquino sabi niya, “Ako ang nag- utos sa kanya.” Sinabi ko kay Presidente Aquino na, “Dahan-dahan, Mr. President, medyo masalimuot yata ‘yan sapagkat hindi natin alam kung anong mga pinagusapan nila — ni Trillanes doon sa mga kinakausap niya sa Tsina kaya magiingat tayo.”
Pagkatapos noon, si Secretary Del Rosario binigyan ako ng sulat ni Ambassador Brady natin sa Tsina na nagrereklamo na itong si Trillanes ay bina-bypass siya. Iyon pala si Trillanes ay pasok at labas sa Tsina na tila hindi na dumadaan sa Immigration dahil inuutusan yata siya ni Presidente Aquino. Kaya sinabihan ko sila na dapat huwag nating gawin iyon sapagkat bansa ang nauukol dito. Nagkaroon ng mediation. Ngayon, ang mediator pala doon ay ang Amerika. Ang question ngayon na hindi ko masagot at hanggang ngayon hindi ko alam kung sino ang humingi ng tulong ng Amerika, ang Amerika ang nagmediate. Nagkaroon ng kasunduan dahil sa mediation ng Amerika na umatras bawat Tsina at Pilipinas doon area ng Scarborough.
Sinunod ng Pilipinas ‘yong kasunduan sa ilalim ng mediation ng Amerika pero ang Tsina ay hindi sumunod. Ngayon ang question ko, kung ang Amerika ang naging mediator, unang question: sino ang humingi ng tulong ng Amerika? Pangalawa, bakit noong hindi tinupad ng Tsina ang kasunduan na umatras din siya, bakit hindi man lang pinagsabihan ng Amerika ang Tsina na tuparin niya ‘yong kasunduan? Ang impression kumbaga eh parang ginamit lang tayo doon sa bagay na ‘yon, ano man na interest ang nauukol para sa Amerika, eh hindi ko alam pero ganoon ang impresyon ko. Hanggang ngayon hindi ko masagot kung bakit ‘yong mediator natin ay hindi tayo tinulungan para tumupad naman ang Tsina para doon sa kasunduan na umatras sila kaya ngayon sila ang nakapuwesto doon, tayo nawala. Iyan po ang natatandaan ko na pangyayari diyan sa problema ng tinatawag natin na Panatag, isla ng Panatag.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Senator, I would like the people to know you have given us really the almost the foundation of your talk tonight and probably your answers na bakit pumayag ang Pilipinas na umatras tayo? I would like to know if you know what drove Aquino to reach that decision to order the Navy to retreat?
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Iyon daw ang kasunduan na natamo ng dalawang panig sa ilalim ng mediation ng Amerika, Mr. President. Kaya dapat siguro si Albert del Rosario malaman sa kanya kung sino ba ang — bilang Secretary of Foreign Affairs noon, sino ba’ng humingi ng tulong ng Amerika? Si Ambassador Cuisia ba na siya ang ambassador ng Pilipinas sa Washington noon o ang mismong Palasyo, si Presidente Aquino? Hindi natin alam eh. Ngayon, dahil doon sa pangyayaring ‘yon eh nagkakuwan tayo, nalugi tayo dahil umatras tayo, eh ang Tsina hindi nila mapaalis doon sa lugar na ‘yon.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: This is really my — the dilemma of the nation. For me, sir, the beginning of this problem was when we retreated. And since then, iyong mga paperwork about the arbitral award has become meaningless and the opposite camp of the political side ay nasabi that I should do my very best in asking the UN.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Mr. President, sa akin pong paningin, hindi naman nasasayang ‘yong desisyon nung arbitration diyan sa bagay na ‘yan sapagkat nandiyan na ‘yon eh na palagay ko nakarehistro ‘yong desisyon na ‘yon sa record ng UN, alam nila ‘yon. Ang karapatan natin nanggaling din sa kuwan, UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, at ‘yon ay gawa ng United Nations. Kaya ano pang kailangang resolusyon ng UN para malunasan ‘yang sigalot na ‘yan para sa atin? Palagay ko kahit na may resolusyon ang UN eh hindi naman maipapatupad ng UN ‘yong resolution nila wala silang police force eh.
Wala namang world government na kagaya ng istraktura natin sa ating bansa. Mayroon tayong hukuman, mayroon tayong pulis. Eh kung mayroong kailangan na usapin tungkol sa hustisya, magpupunta ka sa hukom. Hindi ganyan sa level ng mga bansa. Sa level ng mga bansa eh ang nananatili diyan eh kung ano ang kakayahan mo kontra sa kabila, iyon lang. It is a — what operates in the level of nations, Mr. President, is what they call the law of nature, the law of force and nothing more. That is international law.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: That is what I’ve been telling at least our countrymen. I was frank enough in the early days and I said that might makes it right. And we are not unfortunately on the side of might so we cannot do anything because we cannot be in parity in force and in all so we have to talk, just talk and talk until such time, by the grace of God, if there is an opportune time for all of these things to correct itself maybe. Ang ano ko, sir, kasi ako ‘yong sinisisi nila na bakit ko raw — I will not forcefully do everything to go to the United Nations to ask the body for help? One, is that I am a realist, sir. And if this question is as big as the Philippine — West Philippine Sea, this will eventually reach the Security Council.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Mr. President, on the first place, you were elected by the Filipino people to be the leader of this country. Nobody else can frame the foreign policy of the country except the president of this country. That is true to us and true to other countries. Not even the Supreme Court can interfere with your foreign policy. That’s the highest political act of a president. And I wonder why people keep talking without understanding this system. No one else can frame or formulate the foreign policy of the Philippines except President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: That’s what —
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Not Carpio, Albert Del Rosario or Juan Ponce Enrile. There is only one person, that’s the President of the Philippines.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: That’s what I’ve been telling them, sir, what could be more genuine to a title, to a right, to a claim, than the paper itself of the arbitration?
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Our claim springs from the UNCLOS, Mr. President. It was simply interpreted by the arbitral body in accordance with the dictum of UNCLOS. Of course, apart from UNCLOS, earlier we got involved in the West Philippine Sea because of the discovery of Tomas Cloma during the regime of President Carlos P. Garcia; and that discovery during the presidency of Carlos Garcia, nothing was done about it; and also during the time of Dadong Macapagal as President of the Philippines because they were busy about something else in the country. And during the time of President Marcos, Cloma ceded his rights over Freedomland, that was the name given to that area by Cloma, to the Republic of the Philippines.
That was the first source of our claim to the area. Then UNCLOS came and it was expanded into a greater area because the UNCLOS gave us exclusive economic rights, what we call in civil law, usufructuary right over a — an area of a body of water including its bottom and all the fishes — fish and wealth that you can discover there, exclusive economic right for our country. But that is on the — on the ti — on the assumption that we can protect it and a president of the Philippines, as a person without a strong Navy and Air Force cannot enforce that right no matter what you — how much you want to enforce it. In the same way, UN can issue a resolution but they cannot enforce it.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, sir. That’s right. And I said I was quite a bit [scathed?] about their insistence to go back to the United Council. Even if they result into a maybe not a shooting war but a critical issue of security for the world and for everybody, eventually it would reach the Security Council. The Security Council has five permanent members. Two of them are allies: China and Russia. Each one has a veto power. I said if I started a violence now, I said UN will intervene and the Security Council: America, China, Britain, France and the United States.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Mr. President…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Eh wala…
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: You are only — you are answerable only to history for your foreign policy.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, sir.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Only history will judge you. And I think that history will judge you very well. If I were in your place, I would have — I would have done the same thing. What else can a President of this country do under our present national circumstance? You can shout, you can beat your breast, you can raise your fist. Without any backup, it’s just — that is just noise.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Sir, in the early days of my administration, I announced a change of the direction of our foreign policy from being proWestern to just neutral, just playing it safe in the meantime because it — there might be really a trouble brewing. So nandito lang ho ako sa gitna.
That’s the reason why I went to China and I was prudent enough to bring along my Cabinet members at that time, early days, some of them are now here, mga — ‘yong mga military, sir, General Año was then a general — the chief of staff; Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary Lorenzana was my DND; pati marami — maraming — Esperon was there, sir, so just to make sure. And pointedly, I said to President Xi Jinping, in front of everybody, two panels opposite of each other, sabi ko, “Mr. President…,” there was a long discussion, but I said, “Mr. President, I know that we have conflicting claims but, you know, I have plans of going to the West Philippine Sea to dig my oil.”
Pagkatapos, sir, ang sagot ni President Xi Jinping, almost in whisper, parang ganito, sir, magkaharap, sabi niya, in front of the witnesses that I brought along just to make sure that I will be correct all the time, be prudent about it, sabi ko, “Mag-dig ako ng oil.” Sabi niya, in whisper, “You know, Mr. President, please do not do that. Please do not do that. You will just sour up our, you know, we have a new beginning here, new friendship found, but if you do that…,” he said in — almost whisper, “…there will be trouble.”
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Sa totoo lang, Mr. President, ito ay sinasabi ko hindi dahil ako ay anti-American, hindi — ako po ay kuwan, hindi anti-American, sa mga Amerikano, marami akong kaibigan at mayroon akong apo na Amerikana. Ngayon, iba ‘yong mga — mga American citizens sa kanilang gobyerno eh. Sa kanila, ‘yong gobyerno nila, national interest palagi ang pinagbabatayan nila ng galaw nila sa larangan ng relasyon ng mga bansa.
Sa totoo lang sa karanasan ko bilang Secretary of National Defense noong panahon ni Presidente Marcos, hindi natin maaasahan ang Amerika sa mga ganitong usapin. Noong Secretary of Defense ako po, noong kasagsagan ng Vietnam war ng Amerika, humihingi kami ng delivery ng Amerika ng 2,500 Armalites, 2,500 na Armalites lang po ang kailangan namin noon para labanan namin ang mga nanggugulo sa ating bansa dito sa Luzon at ganoon din sa Mindanao. Sapagkat noon ang mga baril lang namin ay Carbine at Garand. At ang aming puwersa noon ay 48,000 lang po ang kabuuan ng sundalo natin.
Nandiyan na ang PC, nandiyan na ang Air Force, nandiyan na ang Army, nandiyan na ang Navy, nandiyan na ang Coast Guard. Ngayon, pumunta kami ni Presidente Marcos doon sa Clark Field, isang araw, tanghali ‘yon, dahil dumating ‘yong si Admiral Gaylord ng Seventh Fleet na naka-base sa Hawaii at hinihingi namin ang delivery ng 2,500 na Armalite para sa militar natin. Eh sabi niya sa akin, “Low priority kayo sapagkat kailangan namin ng baril sa Vietnam.” Sabi namin, “Eh mayroon kaming problema dito eh, kailangan namin ang ipinangako ninyo.” Sa madaling salita po, hindi kami nakakuha. Kaya dahil doon sa karanasan na ‘yon, bilang sekretaryo ng — kalihim ng Department of Defense noong mga panahon na ‘yon, sinabi — minungkahi ko kay Presidente Marcos, kung ganito ang trato sa atin ng Amerika, nandito ang base militar nila, may kasunduan tayo under the Mutual Defense Treaty, hindi tayo matulungan sa 2,500 Armalite, mabuti pa bumili na rin tayo ng baril natin, pagbayarin natin sila ng renta sa base militar nila at ‘yong renta nila ang ipamili natin.
Huwag na tayong aasa na ibibigay nila sa atin. At dahil doon ang ginawa ko para magkaroon kami — tayo ng baril, kinausap ko si Dr. Goh Keng Swee ng Singapore, he was my counterpart. He was the minister of Defence — Defence Minister of Singapore mayroon silang Colt factory doon noong araw, humingi ako ng baril sa kanya. Nakakuha kami nung mga old model ng colt. Wala pa ‘yong kagaya nung mga Armalite ngayon, noon ay mayroong binobomba para kung nag-i — nag-i-stoppage ‘yong mga baril. We were able to get 10,000 pieces of long arms from Singapore and I got the ammunition from Taiwan. Kaibigan ko si General Wei-kuo, kapatid ni Chiang Ching-kuo, he was the head of the arsenal of Taiwan and I was able to get the bullets from him.
Kaya ang kapalit naman no’n na binigay namin sa Singapore na pabor ay nag-istasyon sila ng isang squadron ng kanilang Air Force dito sa Clark natin at for training purposes kaya na — naagapan namin ang seguridad ng bansa dito sa Luzon at sa Mindanao noong mga panahon na iyon. Kaya kung aasa tayo sa tulong ng Amerika, lalo na ngayon, magulo sila sa Amerika at marami silang problema. Nandiyan ang problema sa Gaza, at Israel, at Palestine ngayon ganoon din umaalma ang Russia.
Eh palagay ko kahit na pupunta tayo sa UN, mag-i-issue ng resolusyon ang UN, eh aasahan ng UN na magpapairal no’n eh Amerika din o ‘yong may mga kakayahan. At palagay ko sa panahon na ito ay walang bansa na puwedeng makaya ang Tsina. Kaya tama ‘yong posture ninyo na kausapin ang Tsina dito sa bagay na ito. Huwag gagamitin ang emosyon at init ng ulo.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, sir. I would like to explain to the nation that sometimes I must be — I must admit that I am harsh with my words. That is my nature and I cannot change it at this time. Gusto nilang ipasa sa akin ‘yong — to attribute to me against me ‘yong pagkakamali nila.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Siguro kailangan malaman natin kung si — saan ba nanggaling ‘yong koneksyon ni Trillanes sa Beijing? Paano siya nagkaroon ng koneksyon doon? Ni mismo ako naging guest ako ng Beijing, wala akong koneksyon na kagaya ni Trillanes. Paano siya nagka – — nagkaroon ng koneksyon na ganoon na puwede niyang lapitan ang mga pinuno ng Tsina noong panahon na ‘yon? Pati si Presidente Aquino palagay ko wala siyang ganoong koneksyon. Bakit si Trillanes ay nagkaroon ng koneksyon na ganoon? Iyon ang isang misteryo na hanggang ngayon dapat malaman kung anong kasagutan.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: You know, I do not demean or belittle our Armed Forces. Ang akin lang, sir, it is really a wonder to me why, of course it’s only President Aquino who can answer this, why he chose a military man to do the backchanneling? And the problem is it was so — so secretive almost a sub rosa type of negotiation that was kept secret. Now, you can name the people do the — you can — we can insist on knowing the people pero ‘yong tataguan mo, sir, iyong anong developments doon and this is really my sixty-four-dollar question to everybody.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: The mystery, Mr. President, to me was: Why Trillanes and not someone else?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: From the milita —
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Why?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: — from the Foreign Service.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Why? Why Trillanes? Of the senators who were incumbent at the time, why was Trillanes selected as the negotiator for Aquino? And where did Trillanes get the influence over some authorities in Beijing in those days?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, sir. I understand that —
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: That is the puzzle to me.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: — he traveled to China 16 times? And during his last visit, the 16th visit, shortly, sir, two days after, we lost the Scarborough Shoal.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Maybe he should explain to the nation how he got that kind of an influence to be able to reach out to the higher-ups in China. Not just anybody can talk to any member of the Politburo of China. He must have been a very influential person in China to be able to do his work as he did. And how did he acquire that influence? That is a mystery to me, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: So with me, sir, I would say. So dapat one of these days, maybe the Filipino people should demand the truth.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: They should ask.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: If they cannot get it from the mouth of Trillanes because maybe it would be a self-preservation thing, then at least some people in the Foreign Ministry, especially our ambassador at that time, Ambassador Brady, can explain because as I understand from you earlier, there — she was not allowed by Trillanes to take notes. Alam mo kasi, sir, ganito ‘yan para malaman ng mga taong Pilipino, kagaya ngayon nandito kami, sa likod natin iyon ‘yong mga steno — ‘yong ambassadors pati mga stenographers kumukuha ng record. So maybe I learned from you earlier na Trillanes did not allow him to take notes.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Ang — ang problema kasi diyan, Mr. President, bakit si Trillanes? Pangalawa, bakit binypass (bypass) niya ‘yong embahada natin sa Beijing? At sa impresyon ko, pati si Del Rosario na kalihim ng Foreign Affairs noon ay binypass (bypass) din niya. Walang kamuwang-muwang si kuwan eh — si Del Rosario doon sa meeting na ‘yon na tungkol doon sa pinag-usapan sa Beijing. Ngayon, nasaan na ‘yong sulat naman ni Brady? Dahil binigyan ako ni Del Rosario nung kopya, nawala lang — marami kasi akong record, wala na akong panahon na tumingin doon sa aking mag — maghalungkat doon sa aking mga records. Eh nasa kanya ‘yon, copy lang ‘yong — ‘yong binigay sa akin eh. O, bakit wala sa Department of Foreign Affairs ‘yong kasulatan na ‘yon? Dapat nandoon ‘yon —
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: On files.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: — kasi official records ‘yon eh.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, sir, correct, sir. Iyon nga ang problema natin. There is a monkey wrench in arriving at the truth and that is really what happened in the negotiations and why — bakit nag-atras tayo? What prompted Aquino or upon whose advice? Because I do not think that President Aquino would just decide on his own when he knows nothing about it even the negotiations. So kung sino — who prompted him to arrive at that decision?
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Tayo ang naonse pero ‘yong namagitan between the Philippines and China ay hindi naman niya man lang sinabihan ‘yong Tsina na, hoy, tuparin mo naman ‘yong kasunduan sapagkat ‘yong Pilipinas eh sumunod eh. Bakit hindi ka sumusunod?
Wala eh, walang nangyaring ganoon eh. Unang-una, kung basahin mo ‘yong Mutual Defense Treaty, ang sinasakop lang nung kasunduan natin sa Amerika ay kung may atake sa ating mga fighter planes or ating mga pang barkong pandirigma sa Pasipiko, saka lang puwede nating gamitin ‘yon. Pero ang sinabi ng Amerika sa amin noong pinag-uusapan namin — na namin ‘yong amendment ng Military Bases Agreement, revision ng Military Bases Agreement, si Kissinger mismo ang kinausap ko at saka si Rumsfeld, who was my counterpart, and later on Armitage also when he was here to negotiate for the extension of the military bases, sabi nila ‘yong West Philippine Sea or South China Sea is not a part of the treaty area of the Mutual Defense Treaty. Kung may mangyari sa West Philippine Sea between China and the Philippines, eh hindi natin magagamit iyong Mutual Defense Treaty.
Although ‘pag kausap mo ang mga opisyales ng Amerika, sasabihin nila, “We will help you. We will protect you. We’ll come to your rescue.” But when the nitty-gritty is there, hindi natin maaasahan ‘yan. Kaya dapat kausapin natin ang Amerika kung gusto nilang baguhin ‘yong Mutual Defense Treaty so para kagaya ng NATO, automatic action ang gagawin nila kung talaga na magkaroon tayo ng problema sa mga ibang bansa dito sa ating kapaligiran. Palagay ko hindi sila papayag diyan.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I don’t know what, I said, I’m just a few months away from my presidency. But I’m really greatly worried about this situation because there will be a time that we will be looking towards the resources of the South China Sea or the West Philippine Sea. There will be a time that itong oil, gas, and everything, which you said run into billions — I do not have the figures — they might take an interest on that and that is the time when I said that there will be a real problem. Not so much now. I might — maybe keep silent about it.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Alam mo, Mr. President, ang pinag-uusapan natin talaga diyan at ang bottom line dito ay kayamanan eh. Ang kayamanan nandiyan sa West Philippine Sea na ‘yan, according to the best estimate or rather the proven reserves of oil and natural gas sa West Philippine Sea is 9 — 7 billion barrels of crude and 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s a very big quantity. That is already proven, it’s there.
Ang estimate ng China, kaya ganyan ang galaw ng Tsina diyan, ay there is a potential of 130 billion barrels of oil in the West Philippine Sea. So with that amount or volume of wealth to be harvested, I doubt whether China will easily bow to anybody without asserting its rights over the area. Apart from the fact that to China, West Philippine Sea is a very strategic route. If that area is closed or controlled by America, Japan, or any other country, China in two months will wither away as a nation.
They will have famine, riots, they will have no economy because 80 percent of their energy passes through the Strait of Malacca through the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea to China. Even Japan will suffer also if that is controlled by someone else. That’s why China is very careful not to antagonize Japan because Japan has the capability. It’s the number two naval power on this planet at the moment, second to America. And they have nuclear capability because the moment China controls the South China Sea, they can isolate South Korea and Taiwan and Japan. So it’s a very delicate balancing effort in this area.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Alam mo sir, I really see the problem — a serious problem in our hands. And it’s quite comforting to me na malaman ko na ano ang totoo from your mouth because sabi ko to me you’re the most authoritative — Senate President ka noon eh. Alam mo ito lahat at dapat malaman ng taong-bayan because hindi naman ako… I’m not talking about politics. I’m just talking about the — well, the behavior of some na tini-twist nila.
So it could be just I said they want me to correct what is wrong. Ang problema niyan is the wrong started from them. So ginagawa akong — well, sabi ni Cuisia niloko tayo. Eh kasi loko-loko ka. Bakit nagpaloko kayo? Ito, I hope that we would be able to weather any trouble with China now and in the future for as long as it is very dangerous for us to go into a kind of…
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: From where I sit, Mr. President, I think you will be able to handle it well in the manner you are doing it now because what do we — we’ll lose more if we antagonize China. We have no choice except to negotiate with China. If assuming that there’s no dispute about our right over exclusive economic exploitation of our West Philippine Sea assets, still we need foreign money to make it a source of wealth for the country.
Now, our choice on that point will be either go to Europe and get technology and capital to exploit — explore and exploit the energy resources of our economic zone in West Philippine Sea or deal directly with China. Chinese one of the best energy explorer now on the planet. In fact, I read some books which says that China now in engineering almost surpassed MIT in the quality of their graduates. So —
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: — they are very advanced already. So I think that… As far as I am concerned, we will not gain anything by antagonizing China. I’m not pro-China. I’m not… I do not have any interest in China. But as a Filipino, I will take this position to protect my countrymen, to protect our core territory, to protect our economy. Maybe we can get better by talking with China instead of being aggressive.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I do not know if it was made clear to us at that time but in one of my many visits to China, there was a talk but it was not really translated into a concrete agreement that maybe China and the Philippines can exploit the resources in the seabeds together. I… I was… This was not clear to me at the time. It might be into the present agreements now below. But as an agreement between heads of state, wala akong — there was no guarantee. It’s the companies down below. But you know, when it comes to a matter of the interest of a country, you can always disregard everything down and you have to protect yours first.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Mr. President, China is involved in energy development and production in Africa — in many parts of Africa. I think they are in kuwan — that former colony of Portugal there. [Katrina Ponce Enrile: Ghana?] No, no, no. That’s on the western side of Africa. And then they are also in Nigeria. There have plenty of interests in Africa. Why can’t we not deal with them, with China? We can — we are in this region.
We — realistically, we cannot ignore China. We have to deal with China instead of making China as a foe or irritate China, why don’t we befriend China without surrendering our rights? We befriend China because we are Orientals, we understand each other. Eh ‘yong Malampaya lang hindi natin alam kung totoo ‘yong mga ginagawa ng kasosyo natin doon eh. Eh Dutch ‘yon.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, maybe I will just ignore my critics.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: That’s the best thing, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: So to not —
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Pabayaan mo na lang sila na mag…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: — derail me from my — derail me from my official duties. And I will just say that well, after talking to Senator Enrile, I — you guys have become irrelevant to me.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: After all, Mr. President, you are only responsible to the Filipino people.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Correct, sir. Yes, sir.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: You are not responsible to any specific person for your foreign policy.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, sir.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Yours is to protect the interest of the nation and its people in the best way you can.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Sir, you know, it’s noteworthy to say that, alam mo, they used to drive fishermen or fishermen sa — fishermen away from the — fisherfolks along the coastal ranges of the Philippines. Noong natapos kami, sir, na nag-usap, ‘yong mga visits ko sa China, they allowed fishing. So they were allowed to enter except in some prohibited areas, especially the lagoon there in the middle of the sea. Hinahayaan na lang muna — hinayaan nila tayo. They never did anything that was provocative or anything punitive against our fisherfolk, our fishermen.
I don’t know now because maybe the cline is becoming clear that we are more — not really forceful but a little bit stronger now in our dealings with them. But I would like to assure, I said to China, I assure you guys that nothing of a sort of placing their arms against you. Even if we put our entire Navy ships there, we will not start a war because we cannot afford it. I was just being frank to everybody. And China understood us. And that is why there’s not a… I said when I — the pandemic started, I knew right away the problem. The problem is we do not have it. We do not manufacture it. So I called President Xi. Sabi ko sa kanya na ano, “Mr. President, we do not have the resources.
We have not reached that sophisticated level of technology to do a mass manufacture of vaccines right away and even to find one.” Sabi ko, huwag mo lang kaming kalimutan. And he said, “Yes, of course, we are friends.” So he said, “I’ll send you.” So the first vaccines that arrived in the Philippines were donated by China. And now these idiots in the other side, para bang sinasabi lumuluhod, I kneel down before China because of the — I asked help from China. Sus, I said look, I —
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Sa totoo lang, sa totoo lang, Mr. President, kagaya noong sinabi ko na na kung titingnan ninyo ang Tsina ang kinukuwestiyon lang niya sa atin ‘yong claim natin doon sa West Philippine Sea.
They do not question ‘yong core territory natin na binakuran na natin under the UNCLOS. Rine-recognize nila ‘yan pati ‘yong Benham Rise hindi nila pinakikialaman ‘yon sapagkat sa kanilang paningin, against everybody in the — on this planet, they are the — they discovered all of these islands themselves ahead of time just like the Europeans discovering Asia and western hemisphere in the past. Iyan ang kanilang position kaya we leave the problem there and then talk to them and — friendly — in order that we can get a better deal with China. We have to deal with China. We cannot afford to antagonize China.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: That’s my position, sir, ever since. So ganito na lang, pati ‘yong paghingi ko rin ng bakuna inisyu. Sabi ko no, it’s not — it’s not wrong to express gratitude. Binigyan tayo noong wala eh. Iyong panahon na kailangan natin, binigyan tayo. Ano ba naman? Tapos makipaggiyera ka pa sa panahong ito. Wala ka na ngang bakuna eh, bakuna lang.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Tumutulong naman sila sa atin.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Oo, yeah that’s… So they are picturing me to be a traitor. Ano daw ako ‘yong — I am a traitor to my country and that’s treason. Sabi — gusto ko magsalita dito ng ano pero in deference to…
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Noong panahon ni Trump po ba eh mayroon kayong nakuha na tulong? Iyong panahon ni Trump? Wala tayong makukuha diyan. Kami nga eh 20 years po ako sa gobyerno ni Presidente Marcos, panay secondhand ang binibigay sa atin, ‘yong mga bulok nilang mga barko. Iyong Sikorsky natin hindi nila binigay ‘yon, binili natin ‘yon. Pera ng Pilipino ‘yon, hindi nanggaling sa bulsa ng Amerika.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Let me — let me let you in sa pangyayari, sir, sa presidency ko vis-à-vis with America. One is early on, we need something like so many Armalites, thousands — 23,000, I think for the PNP. Alam mo, hinold (hold) ‘yan ng Congress because they said that human rights violator daw ako and it will be used against my citizens.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Matagal ng — hindi lang ikaw po ang ginanyan nila. Eh si Presidente Marcos nga eh.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: At saka ‘yong helicopters ko, nag-order ako tapos gusto kong ikansela but they, you know, they reconfigured the route of the – — kasi nag-back out ako sa deal. But they were able to succeed by selling helicopters to us — Bell helicopters but made in Poland. So sabi ko kasi, “You know, guys, I am not really begging you for these choppers. If you cannot give it to us without strings attached and without any criticism, I’ll buy.” Pero kung iba, sabi ko, “I’ll go to Russia and buy.” So ‘yan ang sinabi ko sa kanila and they softened. At eventually pinadala nila ‘yong… Iyan ang problema sa…
You know, one thing the problem with America is human rights kaagad. They lobby is so strong that you know the State Department they lobby — you know, the State Department is inhabited by a cross section of different race so there’s a conundrum of, you know, the discussions there. One — one high, maybe high-level official who comes from a Filipino stock would lobby for his country and then the other one. So hindi talaga natin maintindihan itong State Department. That’s why I said, you know, I would like to stay away from you.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Noong panahon namin po sa — noong panahon ni Presidente Marcos, I requested for a squadron of F-16s. Ayaw nila po magbigay. Basta sabi nila tama na ‘yong mga F-5s ninyo. Pati helicopters, ‘yong mga luma na helicopter nila ang binibigay sa atin.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Nagbabagsakan, sir.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Kaya nagpunta ako sa Connecticut doon sa pabrika ng Sikorsky at bumili kami ng Sikorsky. Pera ng Pilipinas, hindi galing sa Amerika ‘yon. Kaya pinagbayad natin. Noong araw, hindi nagbabayad ng renta ang Amerika sa base militar nila eh. Libre, wala silang binabayaran. Kaya dahil doon sa karanasan namin, eh pinagbayad namin sila ng renta. At saka noong presidente na si Cory at mag — matatapos na ang termino noong military bases, pumunta dito si Armitage, kinau — tinrabaho niya ‘yong extension. Kinausap ako ni Armitage kung puwede na tulungan ko sila.
Eh sabi ko hindi puwede, Richard. Ako ang kaisa-isang opposition senator ni Cory, 23 ang senador niya, bakit hindi niya maipasa ‘yong extension? I have to take an opposition position. I will vote against the extension. Noong primero kami lang dalawa ni Bobby Tañada ang kuwan — ang — – [President Duterte: Against.] — against extension. Eh sumama sa amin sila Jovy Salonga, sila Maceda, sila Sotero Laurel, ang dami eh. Kaya naging dala — 11 senators of Cory plus me — made 12, so terminate the Military Bases Agreement.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: They have substituted it with another — reused systems eh itong Visiting Forces Agreement. Now under that agreement, it is — it was entered into by Aquino again. It’s up for renegotiation and that power belongs to the president. I should have an idea hearing from you what I should do.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Kaya eh paulit-ulit ako na iba ‘yong gobyerno ng Amerika sa mga mamamayan ng Amerika. I-distinguish natin ‘yon. If you are dealing with the government of America, you are dealing with a bureaucracy that talks about nothing else but their core values and their national interest. Kaya human rights — democracy I agree, freedom, all that.
But sasabihin sa iyo they are charitable to us, ang gobyerno nila, [laughs] mas madidisappoint po ‘yong mga — ang mga kritiko natin diyan sa bagay na ‘yan.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: So, this is my order now to the Cabinet and to all — – all and sundry, ‘yong ano, talking for the government to refrain discussing itong West Philippine Sea with the — with anybody. If we have to talk, we talk and tayo-tayo lang, and there is one spokesman — si Secretary Harry will do it. Now you get the picture.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Mr. President, if I may suggest, we get what we can get from China on the West Philippine Sea, use it to strengthen our military capability and exploit Benham Rise — Philippine Rise.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Ah yes, sir. Benham Rise is exclusively Philippine property.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Yes, that’s right, sir.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I have made it clear to all, to the world, that I will not allow any intrusion there. Well, of course, the right to innocent passage is everybody’s privilege. But to allow anybody, even to just try to exploit or to even to look in, you know, I will not allow them to do that because that belongs — Philippine Rise belongs to the Filipino people.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: All I can say, Mr. President, is we must do everything to avoid irritating China or giving China a reason to [President Duterte: Be angry.] take a deal with our core territory because our core territory is very important to China. It’s like a fence. From — from the Kuril down to Honshu all the way to Ryukyu, Formosa or Taiwan to the Philippines all the way to Indonesia, that’s the first line of defense of America. And they cannot penetrate that.
The only way for them to get out of the West Philippine Sea is either they go up over Hokkaido and exit in La Pérouse Strait; or they pass through the Strait of Luzon between Taiwan and Batanes; or they pass through — they go south and veer east behind Balabac and pass through the Sulu Sea to the Celebes Sea. That’s why we must never give China a reason to attack our core territory. That’s the —
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: We have enjoyed… We have the best of relations now.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: — that is the bottom line. Nothing more, nothing less.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: We have the best of relations now. We will not wait — we will not waste that…
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Bakod tayo ng Tsina eh. From our northernmost island, Amianan all the way to Sabah, parang bakod ‘yan sa kanila. Eh bigyan mo sila ng rason para invade you. Anong magagawa ng Amerika? They will not risk a nuclear war —
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: They will not.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: — with China for us.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: The next war will be fought on nuclear basis. Wala na ‘yong conventional, sir.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Wala na.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: If it is a war against big powers, it will be a nuclear war, and it will reduce this planet into a dry land.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Eh vulnerable rin ang Amerika eh. Eh nangyari na nga sa kanila ‘yong pipeline nila eh. That’s already signal that there is some vulnerability on them. Tayo rin, we are vulnerable. If we irritate a country like China, we cannot patrol all our islands from the north all the way to the Sulu Sea. We are a porous country.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yeah, very porous.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Kung ang mga Hapon nga they were not able to guard the coastlines of their country that’s why the Americans were able to supply us with firearms in March of 1945 already. When the war broke out in 1941, December of 1941, the only time that the Americans came to us to help us — the guerrillas I am talking about — was of March of 1945. That’s a period of agony for the country. McArthur abandoned us, and then they wrecked Manila. They destroyed… The Japanese did not destroy Manila, it was destroyed by the Americans.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, the heaviest bombing to occur in Southeast Asia at that time when they bombed Manila to rubbles. So I would like to just study very carefully the advent or with the coming of the renegotiation of the Visiting Forces Agreement. Something has got to give. It could not be a “ni hi, no hi” (ni ha, ni ho) lang para sa atin. At least in my time — but I said, I have made it clear that… Well, I have not been to America for the longest time.
The last visit was about 10 years ago and I… President Trump invited me several times but I said, “for as long as you treat us like a — you know, a — something which is an inferior…” Ginagawa mo lang kaming detachment ninyo. You are making the Philippines a sort of a — an early warning device detachment bago mag — mag-abot ng Amerika. And I said this cannot happen during my time.
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Mr. President, critics you will always have. If I were you, I will not mind them; just mind history, the Filipino people.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, sir. So alam ng tao ngayon na kung bakit ako hindi sumasagot, and this is the best advice that I got ngayong gabing ito. So it’s been a long talk, sir, I would like to thank you again for —
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Any time, Mr. President, gratis et amore.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: — nalaman ng Pilipino. To me — to me, you’re the only one that matters. So if you say that I do not waste my time with them, so I will not waste my time with them. And that’s will be the — beginning to might — tonight rather, hindi na ako mag — hindi na ako mag — beginning tonight hindi na ako mag…
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT ENRILE: Huwag mo nang sagutin, Mr. President. They will enjoy that if they are being answered by a president.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Okay. I said, everything is clear to us. Mga kababayan ko, I do not talk fluent Tagalog but — well, everybody understands the Tagalog dialect. At least narinig na ninyo, sabi ko, one of the best minds of our generation — – sa bunganga niya kung what is really the score between this whole thing of China and the Philippines, and how we are navigating peacefully to avoid trouble with China.
It is not to our advantage, as the senator has said, that we go out and quarrel with China. Ako, wala rin akong nakita. So the senator is one with me. I am happy that, I said, one of the best minds of ating generation has agreed with me. Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. [applause] —