Regard for China-Philippines relations should move on from the old Yellowtard and communist “bully” rhetoric

Check out Richard Javad Heydarians’s most recent crybaby piece “Why are we bullied?” published on the Inquirer. Heydarian basically whines about “our President’s almost slavish comments vis-à-vis the Eastern bully, which has been creeping into our waters with increasing impunity.” He worries about the prospect (presumably as the 2022 elections loom closer and campaigning ramps up) of “lower-level officials and traditional politicians” suddenly “parroting the worst aspects of Dutertismo, not out of political conviction but out of pure expediency.” He then writes…

Far worse than staying silent in the face of infamy is trying to justify it. And here lies the Philippines’ ultimate tragedy—the stubborn grip of a ruling oligarchy that openly, and often even proudly, extols its subservience to global bullies. In any other self-respecting nation, no statesman would even dare to traffic in such brazen rhetoric of defeatism.

Where does Javad get the gall? It’s patently clear that his patrons are working for their own vested interest with the US behind their back. The same is true with Taiwan which the United States has provided modern military hardware with. The Philippines as a former colony, wasn’t so fortunate. All we have received are hand-me-downs. A policy of rapprochement is not defeatism but pragmatic. We can’t rely on the US for material military support. Would it be safe to assume they will go to war with China in the event of an attack on our shores?

Lucy Torres Gomez may not have the academic credentials Javad has but her pragmatic approach is more sound than any of his theories will ever be. Gomez had earlier reportedly “urged for sobriety in public discussions over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) as she raised economic concerns over calls for the government to be more aggressive in dealing with Chinese military vessels that have been spotted in various reefs inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).” In his piece “Enforcing the Arbitral Award” published on the Inquirer last Sunday, former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban for his part detailed the steps which are needed to enforce the arbitral ruling. He starts by proposing that Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra “form a team of international jurisconsults, headed by him and Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.,” to study the challenge of bringing China before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the matter of our South China Sea disputes considering that “China had publicly declared that only the ICJ has the jurisdiction to settle our EEZ claims”.

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This is better than Javad’s ally, Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who hasn’t propounded anything to this effect. The practical reality is China is now our largest trading partner for both imports and exports. Panganiban further points out…

As the world’s second largest economy (and soon, the first) with the biggest army and a huge nuclear arsenal, China will not readily give up its preferred mode of one-on-one negotiation where it enjoys absolute superiority, and agree to litigate as an equal in the ICJ.

The recent proposal of retired Justice Francis H. Jardeleza, et al., to identify “by name and coordinates at least 100 features being claimed and occupied by the Philippines,” will help in proving in the ICJ our territorial title to 35 HTEs in our maritime domain. For now, however, I expect China to ignore this proposal and to insist on its old “nine-dash line” tune.

What Justice Panganiban doesn’t say is that instead of the arbitration panel in the Netherlands, the issue should’ve been brought forth to the proper forum which is the International Court of Justice in Switzerland from the very beginning. Simply put, it wasn’t in the best interest of the US to do so. Then President Noynoy Aquino at the time was subservient enough to follow American dictates. Note that the US itself has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) because it would limit their ability to conduct freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) in the territorial waters of another country. The truth is, Carpio is lawyering for the vested interests in the country that have investments in the energy sector. This is all about the oil and natural gas deposits in the Recto Bank and not about sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea. This is why Aquino issued the proclamation naming it so and the Luneta hostage incident was the trigger to begin the hostility towards China.

Do we put everything at risk by taking a belligerent stand similar to that which Aquino adopted during his term? If not for China, who would sell the country vaccines in the quantities it needs to begin a return to a semblance of normalcy? Pragmatic is being practical which Javad is obviously incapable of.

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