‘Am-boy’ envoys gang up on Yasay

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The gall of our ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia and the former foreign affairs secretary to berate President Duterte’s foreign affairs secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr. for allegedly not pushing the Asean hard enough to demand China’s compliance with the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration favoring the Philippine suit!

That is the problem when the government appoints political envoys, especially rich ones who are too full of themselves they ignore the discipline of the Foreign Service Corps. Worse is when our foreign affairs officials are so obviously pro-American – labeled in the 1970s as “Am-boys” – that they think their era of Pax Americana still runs to this day, even in Asia.

In the first place, aren’t they aware that the foreign affairs secretary is the alter ego of the President, that Yasay’s stance expressed during the Asean meeting held last week was not his personal position but that of the President of the Republic? Or do Cuisia and del Rosario think Duterte is so stupid as not to understand foreign affairs?

For his comments, Cuisia should be recalled immediately, and let the deputy chief of mission take over. He may be a stupendously rich executive. In fact, Cuisia – even while serving as ambassador to the US – kept getting millions of pesos in compensation from eight huge companies of which he is vice chairman or director, among them Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philam Life) and the firm that distributes Chevrolet cars in the Philippines. A part-time ambassador to the most important embassy in the world? What must the US think of us, that our ambassadors don’t get enough compensation for their government service that they need to moonlight as director of several companies even if that could involve conflict of interest?

Cuisia forgets that until he is relieved, he is a foreign affairs functionary, whose immediate boss now is Yasay. How can an undersecretary — the rank of an ambassador in the foreign affairs department — criticize the official actions of the DFA secretary, the chief envoy, and the President’s alter ego?

“I’m disappointed that Asean did not come out with a unified statement because [the United States], Japan and Australia have supported the ruling,” Cuisia said. “Why can’t Asean say that? Is it because we are so afraid to upset China?” he added.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s subtle spin. (Photo accompanying its article titled “Yasay hit for weak handling of PH stand.” Del Rosario had been for more than a decade a director of the Indonesian Anthoni Salim’s First Pacific, Co., which controls PLDT, the pension fund of which owns 22 percent of the Inquirer.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s subtle spin. (Photo accompanying its article titled “Yasay hit for weak handling of PH stand.” Del Rosario had been for more than a decade a director of the Indonesian Anthoni Salim’s First Pacific, Co., which controls PLDT, the pension fund of which owns 22 percent of the Inquirer.

Does  Cuisia have special expertise or an official role in the disputes over the South China Sea that he can publicly criticize the incumbent government’s stance on this controversy? Can our ambassadors elsewhere criticize Cuisia’s actions in our embassy in the US? Or has Cuisia, after six years in Washington, become confused about what he is, our ambassador to the US, and not an American envoy. Has he forgotten that our military force isn’t that of the US, which can upset China anytime?

Or has Cuisia worked too long as CEO of Philam Life — owned by the American AIG, which went bankrupt during the US financial crisis — and as chairman of Chevrolet Philippines, that he now thinks like an American and has imbibed in his mind the US’ plot euphemistically called “Pivot to Asia” but which, in reality, is the American program to weaken the influence of China on Asia?

From New York

The other Am-boy who lambasted Yasay for his stance on the Asean meeting is former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario, who since he was 11 years old, has lived and studied in the US, mostly in New York. Like singing a duet with Cuisia, del Rosario said Yasay “should have stood strongly in promoting [the ruling] as part of the Asean joint statement.”

Del Rosario, who presents himself as an old-school gentleman, forgets that a former foreign affairs secretary does not criticize the statements and policy of his immediate successor. Why? Because it sends a signal to the world that there is no unity in the country’s foreign affairs policy, and therefore, that country’s policy is weak and should be ignored.

Del Rosario, in fact, has not debunked an allegation made against him by Senator Antonio Trillanes that the foreign affairs secretary then gave President Aquino during the Scarborough Shoal standoff in 2012 the wrong information that the Americans had arranged for the Chinese ships to leave the shoal simultaneously with the Philippine ships. According to Trillanes, on the basis of that report from del Rosario, Aquino then ordered our ships to leave the shoal — only to find out that the Chinese ships were still there. That’s how we lost the Scarborough Shoal, the first time we lost a territory in the Spratlys since 1996.

Cuisia and del Rosario’s vociferous tirade against Yasay convinces me more and more that the previous Administration’s confrontation with China over Scarborough Shoal and the filing of the case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration was a brilliant US maneuver to put pressure on the emerging superpower to ease up on its expansion in the South China Sea. Who gave former President Aquino so soon the warship BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which this incompetent leader deployed to Scarborough Shoal, providing the Chinese an excuse to occupy the area on grounds that the Philippines was militarizing it?

As I’ve written in previous columns, the US had been in a quagmire over China’s projection of its military power in the South China Sea. It cannot flex its muscles, militarily or legally in the area. It is not a claimant in any dispute over a territory in the South China Sea. It has refused to join UNCLOS, unlike China, which signed the pact, but with categorical qualifications that it cannot be a basis for determining sovereignty over any territory that it claims. The US cannot count on any of the other claimants — Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan — to move against China. These countries are pragmatic nationalists. Even Vietnam, which lost two-dozen marines and two ships in a firefight with Chinese troops over the Paracel islands in 1974, has refused to be America’s lackey in the South China Sea dispute.

America’s proxy

Only its former colony, the Philippines, with high-ranking pro-American officials like the former President himself, Benigno S. Aquino, and his foreign affairs secretary del Rosario, would be more than willing to make the country America’s proxy.

In sharp contrast to del Rosario and Cuisia’s vehement criticism of the Philippine stance on the issue at the Asean meeting, a more rational and sober analysis of what happened was written in The Jakarta Post by its editor-in-chief Endi Bayuni, which was also published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s opinion page on July 30.

Excerpts from that piece:

ASEAN has survived its first serious test as a new community, one could even say with flying colors. Against all odds and predictions, the regional group this week came up with a common response to the ongoing maritime and territorial disputes that four of its members have with China in the South China Sea.

The wording of a joint statement by their foreign ministers meeting in Vientiane on Monday… is a position that all 10 member countries openly subscribe to, although they have different interests and approaches in dealing with China, including in addressing the South China Sea disputes.

Skeptics took their cue from the disastrous 2012 meeting in Phnom Penh when they failed to issue a communiqué for the first time in ASEAN’s history, then also over how they should approach China. [Note by RDT: It was del Rosario in this meeting who pushed for that confrontational communiqué that was confrontational to China, which most of the Asean nations rejected. Asean policy is that any country can veto a communiqué, so no communiqué was issued.]

“We remain seriously concerned over recent and ongoing developments and took note of the concerns expressed by some ministers on the land reclamations and escalation of activities in the area, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region,” reads paragraph 174 of the communiqué adopted by all 10 members in Vientiane.

Paragraph 177 states: “We emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities, including land reclamation that could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the South China Sea.”

No one can accuse ASEAN of skirting the thorny issue when eight of the 191 points in the statement were dedicated to the situation in the South China Sea.

By now, China has become the second largest economy in the world, and for all ASEAN member countries, China is their biggest trading partner and also a major source of badly needed financial investments.

While none of the ASEAN claimant countries are backing off from their position in the South China Sea, they continue to pin their hopes on diplomacy.

ASEAN has extended its hands. The ball is in China’s court.


This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Reynan Dollison

    I suggest that since the Hon. Sec. Of Foreign Affairs is a neophyte in foreign diplomacy, he should get a crash course on the subject matter with the experts but with emphasis on the country’s national interest pursuant to the mandate given to the government by the Constitution.

  2. Alex Umali

    del Rosario habla inglés con acento más estadounidense que un verdadero estadounidense. del Rosario speaks English with an accent more North American than the true blue North American.

  3. jbt

    What will we gain from this soft stance, taiwan has a strong stance to think it’s part of China in all counts, for all I know they are flooding us with cheap goods laden with lead.

  4. Gem

    ginawa Na Nina Cuisia at Del Rosario yung trabaho Nila para ipatagtanggil kung ano ang Sa atin Sa ICJ at nanalo tayo e time mo ngayon Yasay to follow it up at me upper hand tayo legally Laban Sa China. Natural lamang mag react sila Laban Sa iyo at naghirap sila at ang Pnoy Administration nagbayad ng P1.4B para maka hire ng de kalidad banyagan Lawyers Na tutulong Sa atin Kaso. Have some balls at kita mo 2 US Aircraft Carriers Combat Group nasa WPS at Kung wala yan Aba e baka nag declare Na ng Chinese Air Identification Zone dyan. Kundi mo Kaya e di mag resign ka at mahirap ipilit yung sarili Sa Hindi Kaya.

  5. Andres Luna


  6. Allen Llamar

    Pres. Duterte, you have said that, that any belligerent public servants you will himself humiliate them in public.

    Now, recall this 2, namely Cuisia and Del Rosario call them up into one of your speaking engagement and HUMILIATE/REPRIMAND THEM IN PUBLIC in full eye view of the public. Start it with this 2.

  7. capricorn

    I’m a fan, Mr. Tiglao.

  8. R. de Dios

    Yasay is correct ! The Amboys did not succeed in bringing peace .

  9. ben victoria

    I understand Pres. rody’s position on China vs PH talks which the Pres. agreed on a bilateral talks with China but based on the Hague’s rulings favouring the PH. Disagreements between del Rosario and Yasay is healthy without being disagreeable, but rhetorics of this nature should be behind close doors to not give adept China any idea. I would rather be on America’s side than China, wouldn’t you?

  10. Abel Labarda

    These two “yellow” diplomats are in effect condescending on Sec.Yasay and PRody, basking on the PCA decision against China as a badge to dictate on the ASEAN members. Just like Pnoy, they belong to the exclusive gang of “sila lang ang magaling”. Pauwiin na yung mga Amboy.

  11. JRT

    The debate between Cuisa and Yasay are healthy debate. There is no reason to paint a divisiveness between our bright foreign affairs personnel. They are all nationalists who are willing to fight and die for the country. My advise to Mr. Tiglao and the negativist is to keep calm and be helpful to our cause. I would not associate the stands of Cuisa, Del Rosario and Yasay on political affiliation but more on healthy debate on strategy on how to tackle the issue with China. These boys are all grown up, smart and professionals. Media need to see the bright side of a debate.

    1. La Salista

      Agree with you 100%. This writer has taken it as his career to bash everyone connected with the previous administration

  12. barks barks

    wow! the most important embassy in the world, REALLY! I did not know philippines was a super power

    1. rigoberto

      you don’t understand barks. It is the most important embassy because it is our link to the most powerful nation nation on earth.

    2. barks barks

      you said it was the most important embassy in the world, but only to philippines. your wording was incorrect. i understand your hate for the “am boys” but thats the philippines all over

  13. Migs Doromal

    Thank you for taking the cudgels RT and pointing out this highly malicious attack on DFA Sec. Perfecto Yasay. The actions of these stooges of BSA and USA for that matter are subtle attacks against President Duterte himself. They are out to undermine the agenda of the President as written on their playbook.

    Instead of hitting and blaming the obvious – Cambodian PM Hun Sen for derailing America’s ploy to drag ASEAN in its continued shame campaign against China, these American lapdogs did not think twice about hitting President Duterte directly.

  14. Bert O. Romero

    May I add to your paragraph on the 2012 ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Phnom Penh: As that year’s host, Cambodia was so alarmed by then Foreign Secretary del Rosario’s confrontational anti-China’s rhetoric that it deliberately turned off the electricity at the convention center while del Rosario was delivering the Philippine statement. For about two minutes, del Rosario was talking to an audience of foreign dignitaries who couldn’t hear what he was reading. He was spared from further embarrassment when the chair of the ASEAN FMM , the Cambodian Foreign Minister, approached him and told him if the “disrupted” electrical supply.
    Taking the Philippines almost to the brink of war with China was a proud moment for both President Aquino and del Rosario. Listening to either of them talk about the Philippine position on the South China Sea issue gave one the surreal feeling the Philippines was suddenly catapulted into a regional military power able to confront China.

  15. eliseo blancaflor

    Congratulations to Mr Tiglao and the comments that followed. Your guts are very inspiring. Wish you more to help our country to be in place.

  16. Leodegardo Pruna

    Cuisia and del Rosario are subservient to America and would do the licking because they think that theirs is the only good thing for the Philippines when in fact they have continuously bowed to the whims and caprices of the US. A good example is the EDCA which the two surrendered without flexing their muscles to the US. The US State Secretary himself is in accord with the line of furthering talks with China and not to rely on the outcome of the arbitration tribunal in the Hague. China has a point. The one that took place in the Hague was no arbitration because only one party was present. An arbitration involves two parties and a third present to reconcile differences . Sec. Yasay and PDU30 are definitely taking on a direction that would lead to peace in the area. God save the Philippines from evil. God bless the Philippines.

    1. R. de Dios

      agree !

  17. Bert

    Did Mr. Quisia not serve under the Cory administration? He might be a double agent who is still loyal to Pnoy and not to his present boss President Duterte. He should be replaced immediately to remove any appearance of disunity in the foreign policy of the Philippines.

    1. ren fuentes

      bert, cuisia, his classmates at la salle call him blondy cuisia, was the central bank governor during the time of cory. i wonder, if what mr tiglao said was correct, how he could serve the go’t while still holding positions in private companies. hindi ba bawal yon?? and i read also in a column in another paper that former sec del rosario was also receiving pay and holding positions in the companies of salim-mvp while holding the dfa portfolio.

  18. Arturo Buenaventura

    Cuisia should be recalled to Manila for “consultations” then allow him to resign due to health reasons.


    I share the thoughts of Mr. Tiglao and these two ambassadors be recalled..

  20. Venancio

    Spot on coming from a diplomat who served in Greece. Cuisia and Del Rosario are rabid American lap dogs.

  21. Avery_23

    Cuisia is also a director of the Ayalas’ Manila Water Co., in cement conglomerate Holcim Philippine. No wonder water is so expensive even though it is local. And so is cement! Cuisia has a lot of conflict of interest. Why was he even allowed to be an ambassador?

    1. Leodegardo Pruna

      Because, Cuisia is yellow through and through, a fanatic of Cory and P-Noy. He could not be where he is without them. God bless the Phillippines.

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