TO be honest, I’m mad. I spent hard-earned P1,000 (P700 for the book, P300 commuting to the bookstore) on the pompously titled The South China Sea Arbitration: Understanding the Awards and Debating with China, by a retired De La Salle University professor, Alfredo Robles.
Despite my doubts about the book, I decided to buy it as part of my research for a book on the topic I’m working on. After all, President Benigno Aquino 3rd made a very rare public appearance at the book’s launch last January, endorsing it.
While I certainly doubt Albert del Rosario’s intellect, as he was fooled into losing Scarborough Shoal to the Chinese, still he was the Foreign Affairs secretary who said the book was an “edifying, analytical piece, a must-read.”
It is a fake book, consisting mostly of not the author’s writings but material cut and pasted from the website of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that “arbitrated” the Philippine suit against China for allegedly violating the UN Law of Sea treaty.
This is not my opinion but a fact, as objective as arithmetic.
The book is 334 pages long. But over 250 pages, or three-fourths of it, consist of the PCA documents on its two decisions (called awards) as well as the very detailed biographies of the five judges and the Philippines’ six lawyers (none of whom are Filipinos.)
These are all freely available and downloadable from the PCA website. Why would anyone in his right mind pay P700 for content that is free in the internet?
Another trick the author used to lengthen the book was to have an index that is 36 pages long. How did he do that?
He had an index entry so detailed it is absurd. For instance, the entry for “Palawan” had sub-entries for “distance of Cuarteron reef from, 268,” “distance of Fiery Cross from, 268” and so on for the island’s distances from 14 other Spratly maritime features.
Similarly, the author struggled to lengthen his book with a “references” section that also cut-and-pasted those cited in the PCA documents, not what he himself had read.
Examples of such references: “Statsexamen (auch: Staatsprufung).” Studisonline, 21 January 2016; Whaling in the Antaric (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand Intervening); Le President de la Cour internatoinale de justice au President de la Republique de Guinee Bissau, 16 Mars 1994.” Correspondence.
C’mon, he really didn’t read or even had access to those!
Include this artificially elongated index and “references” that were also mostly from the PCA documents, and the book has only 47 pages the author actually wrote. This is as long as the section on the curriculum vitae of the tribunal judge and the Philippine lawyers.
These are hurried pieces that the author could obviously get “published” only in the blog of his sister-in-law Raissa Robles. (Similarly, the latter’s book on the Marcos regime was also cut-and-paste writing, in her case, from accounts by communists and its fronts as well as the Yellow Cult of alleged atrocities at the time.)
Robles’ claims in the book are so ridiculous. He says in one of his articles in the book: “The strongest argument to the idea of US manipulation of the tribunal is that the latter refused to allow it to attend the hearings, as an observer.”
What? For Robles, obviously only an American diplomat attending the hearing, and staring threateningly at the judges, would be proof for him that the tribunal was manipulated by the US.
Isn’t there some law somewhere, similar to those on fake goods, penalizing writers who sell books, ninety percent of whose content was written by others, an arbitral court in this case, which the author simply cut and pasted from the internet?
It would be the equivalent of a book claiming to analyze the legality of an Indonesian magnate’s control of PLDT, but which merely contains the cut-and pasted decisions, including dissenting opinions of the Supreme Court — downloadable from its website — and also has the curriculum vitae of all the nine justices.
It is a rip-off, which only some kind of crackpot would dare publish, claim as his work, and foolishly think would be believed as such by Filipinos
If the author were honest enough to publish only these 47 pages as his explanation and analysis of the Philippine suit against China, it would simply be a thin pamphlet, with a cost of around P40.
That means this book is nearly a scam, being sold at P700 locally and to gullible foreigners at P4,000 ($75) through Amazon.
The De La Salle University would be part of this scam, as the book was published by its publishing house, which would fool people into thinking that it is an academic study, and as such reviewed by the author’s peers.
But then, this university has turned Yellow in the past decade, and has thrown to the dustbin, as Ateneo University has also done, academic integrity for its pro-Aquino, pro-oligarch and anti-Duterte propaganda.
But this isn’t just about this rip-off of a book.
For singing high praises for this cut-and-paste book, Aquino, del Rosario and the Yellow Gang have exposed the fact that they hadn’t even read the book, or worse, were so stupid not to realize they were reading a book that wasn’t the author’s but a compendium of PCA documents.
It points to the desperate and stupid extent that the Yellow Cult has gone to conceal its stupidity in being used by the US for the superpower’s propaganda thrust and strategic moves to contain China, euphemistically called its “Pivot to Asia.”
Nearly three years after the PCA’s decisions, the Yellow propaganda that it was a victory led by the Yellow regime that would benefit Filipinos is fast being debunked.