SCS hoax No. 3: ‘Court’ ruled vs China’s claims

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Third of four parts

THE third-biggest lie over our South China Sea (SCS) disputes with China has been disseminated in the Hitlerian tactic that a fallacy repeated again and again would be believed as truth.

Indeed, nearly all media reports on our SCS quarrel contain versions of the following statement: “The Philippines sued China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2013 over the country’s claims in the West Philippine Sea. In July 2016, the court ruled in favor of the Philippines and rejected China’s nine-dash claim, covering almost the entire South China Sea.”

That’s from a May 24, 2024 report in the Daily Tribune, ironically a paper financed and put up by the officials and supporters of former president Rodrigo Duterte, who called that “court’s” ruling a worthless piece of paper.

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Hoax No. 2: China’s claims are based on the nine-dash line

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Third of four parts

I DEBUNKED in my column last Monday the colossal lie that China has trampled on our sovereignty because it has been intruding into our exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and I do hope those who disagree with me express their views, which I will publish in my column so we could have a lively debate and ferret out the truth.

The gist of my argument: Areas that our leaders claim are within our EEZ are areas China has long claimed as its sovereign territory, such as the Spratlys, which in all its maps since even before the World Wars are depicted as part of its territory it calls the Nansha Islands. It’s moot and academic to argue which narrative is correct; all we can do is to recognize that a territorial (not maritime) dispute exists and to undertake cordial, not belligerent, bilateral negotiations without threatening China that the US will help us enforce our claims.

The second biggest hoax over our territorial disputes with China is the assertion, which is almost always stated even in straight news articles, that our neighbor’s declaration of sovereignty over the Spratlys is based on the so-called nine-dash line, a series of dashes drawn around the South China Sea. It’s as if one day, a Chinese leader woke up on the wrong side of the bed, drew that line, and declared everything encompassed by it as China’s sovereign territory.

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Colossal hoax: It’s not about EEZs, stupid*

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First of four parts

THE allegation that China has absolutely no right by international law to islands and shoals in the South China Sea, which has reached a level of Sinophobic hysteria against the superpower, is based on colossal misinformation. This lie has been masterfully disseminated by the US to demonize China as part of its “Pivot to Asia” policy started in 2009.

This colossal lie is that China has been intruding into our exclusive economic zone (EEZ), a maritime zone, and therefore, it’s trampling over our sovereignty.

But the EEZ was invented through an international treaty that took effect only in 1994. It emanates 200 nautical miles from the coastal state’s territorial sea, which is 12 nautical miles from the land territory. This means that, unlike the territorial sea over which a state has absolute sovereignty, an EEZ confers only limited rights to the coastal state, mainly over its natural resources, which is why its name does not include any term that may be from the coastal state’s territorial sea, which is 12 nautical miles from the land territory. This means that, unlike the territorial sea over which a state has absolute sovereignty, an EEZ confers only limited rights to the coastal state, mainly over its natural resources, which is why its name does not include any term that may be misconstrued as sovereign authority.

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Senate coup: Bad for Marcos, bad for country

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WHETHER President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. instigated it or merely supported it when it was under way, the coup against Sen. Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri as Senate president by Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero is bad news for the country and for the President.

Escudero’s arrogance that it wasn’t hard to remove Zubiri, the swiftness in which the coup plot unfolded (five days, the new Senate president revealed), the plotters’ complete silence on the reasons why Zubiri was yanked from the top post, all of these will result in a divided Senate, with bitterness on the part of the six senators who remained loyal to the former Senate president. They will, in effect, expand the opposition from two (Senators Koko Pimentel and Risa Hontiveros) to eight.

Senators Bong Go and Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, who owe their seats 100 percent to former president Rodrigo Duterte, would most probably realize that they made a bad decision supporting Escudero (I can imagine Digong scolding them for their naiveté), and I expect they will later join the growing opposition bloc. Depending on the political winds and the deteriorating economy, this could be a powerful force to block Marcos’ legislative agenda, and the resulting chaos will be bad for the country.

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‘Off with his head!’ — Marcos tightens control of Senate

OF course, I’m not insinuating anything, with that phrase uttered by Queen Margaret in Shakespeare’s “Henry VI” and by the Queen of Hearts in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

But Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri’s ouster comes just when the hearings of the Committee on Public Order on the so-called PDEA leaks were getting some traction, weeks after media and the committee’s other members ignored them.

The hearings had focused on the claim of a former agent of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Jonathan Morales, that he had signed a surveillance order in 2012 on then-senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for alleged cocaine use, but which was ordered stopped by then-executive secretary Paquito Ochoa, who at the time was a partner in a law firm with Marcos’ wife, Liza Araneta-Marcos. Ochoa at the hearing last Monday denied the allegation, and it would seem that would have been the end of the hearings.

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Atin Ito ‘swarming’: A classic budol-budol

THE much-hyped swarming by fishermen into the China-controlled Bajo de Masinloc led by a dubious group calling itself “Atin Ito” is a classic case of budol-budol. That Hiligaynon slang has entered into popular usage throughout the country in recent times to refer initially to swindling schemes.

It has been used, though, to refer to how a particular political leader got Filipinos to vote for office.

The ex-priest, ex-communist Edicio de la Torre and the 37-year-old Rafaela David — president of the left-of-center Akbayan Party and a protégé of Sen. Risa Hontiveros — claim to be the convenors of Atin Ito. That is impossible: the 81-year-old de la Torre can hardly walk without a cane, while David has never been engaged in mass work as an Akbayan leader to be able to organize fishermen. De la Torre couldn’t even join the swarm to Bajo de Masinloc (international name: Scarborough Shoal). David was interviewed 100 kilometers from Scarborough. Emman Hizon, another spokesman in the swarm-Scarborough swindle, has been Akbayan’s spokesman for over 10 years and concurrently its deputy secretary general.

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Height of immorality to use civilians as cannon fodder, sacrificial lambs

IT is the height of immorality for President Marcos Jr.’s Navy and Coast Guard to use civilians — in this case poor fishermen — as cannon fodder, even sacrificial lambs, in the maritime-area dispute with China in the South China Sea.

For planning and undertaking such a profoundly depraved scheme, those involved in it, and their bosses, especially Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Jay Tarriela, who sources say planned it, should be fired and dishonorably discharged.

I am referring to the operation by a dubious group called “Atin Ito” launched the other day for a number of fishermen and activists, prodded, paid or fooled by former communist leader Edicio de la Torre and Akbayan head Rafael David’s outfits, to sail on their fishing boats to “swarm” Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal).

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Jinggoy all out for Marcos’ defense in PDEA case

SEN. Jinggoy Estrada — in the third hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order investigating allegations that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in 2012 was a cocaine user — demonstrated such disdain and contempt for the accuser, former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent Jonathan Morales, that his shameless behavior can be explained by one and only one thing.

He has become so servile to Marcos that he has internalized the President’s seething rage against Morales, so obvious in a recent “ambush” interview” in which Marcos called Morales a “professional liar.” That’s the first time that a president of the Republic has stooped so low as to cuss in such a manner at a lowly citizen. Estrada has taken the President’s cue, and called Morales a “congenital liar.”

One can’t blame Estrada: he was convicted of bribery last January and sentenced to 12 years. His only real chance of evading a long jail term is for President Marcos to use all his influence for his conviction to be reversed by some court.

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Highly paid lawyer gathering dirt vs Duterte

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WELL-KNOWN in leftist circles, lawyer Kristina Conti is unarguably among the highest-paid attorneys in the country, making at least P8 million yearly.

For doing what? Gathering evidence, I suspect even concocted testimonies and mere media reports, against former president Rodrigo Duterte and his two police chiefs, Ronald de la Rosa and Oscar Albayalde, for alleged murders committed in the former president’s war against drugs, from July 2016 to March 2019.

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What a president: He’s made us, again, the world’s laughingstock

WHAT a president.

It turns out that it was President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who authorized — or even ordered — the implementation of a “new model” proposed by China to de-escalate tensions in Ayungin Shoal that resulted, after the Philippines unilaterally abandoned the model, in the water-cannoning of Philippine Coast Guard vessels and hired civilian ships that tried to supply the BRP Sierra Madre stuck in the area.

This is according to the transcript released by the Chinese Embassy in Manila of a purported conversation in November last year between an identified Chinese diplomat and Armed Forces Western Command (Wescom) head Alberto Carlos expounding on the “new model” which he said had been approved by Marcos, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Romeo Brawner, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro and National Security Adviser Eduardo Año.

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