THIS is the second of two parts of Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th’s secret aide memoire which he wrote in 2012 on his activities as President Aquino’s special envoy to China to negotiate for an end to the stand-off between our vessels and that country’s in Scarborough Shoal, which we call Bajo de Masinloc or Panatag Shoal.
It is important for us as a nation to know the truth on how we lost Panatag Shoal, as this has been the reason for the diplomatic conflict between us and, whether we like or not, the nation that is emerging as the biggest military and economic superpower in the region. I am convinced that those allied with another superpower that is bent on preventing the rise of China as the superpower in Asia have and will exploit the Panatag Shoal issue to portray it — as even Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has been doing — as exemplifying China’s expansionist policy in Asia.
As Trillanes’ account describes the Panatag Shoal crisis, it is not as simplistic as that.
The following is the second part of Trillanes’ narrative, which he titled “Summary of Backchannel Talks (12 May to 16 August 2012)”:
“On 19 June, just a few days after the media reposted the pull-out of our ships, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published a banner photo of Chinese uniformed personnel holding a Chinese flag on top of the shoal. PNoy called me about this and said that we were betrayed by China.
I advised him to refrain from issuing statements while we are validating the info. For the meantime, I told him that the photo couldn’t possibly have been current since, in the background, the skies are clear and the seas are calm. At that time, a typhoon was passing through the area and we, in fact used this pretext to withdraw our ships.
True enough, when I confronted the Beijing negotiators, they denied this and gave me a link to a website showing this to be an old photo back in the early 1980s. I reported this to PNoy and advised him to direct the Navy to conduct an aerial reconnaissance flight to further validate the information. I then asked around in the Inquirer as to who fed the photo. My sources then revealed that the story came from Sec. Del Rosario. Continue reading