MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration’s “no gloating” policy over an arbitral tribunal’s favorable ruling on the Philippines’ case against China is the “best track” for the government to take, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said.
“If the Palace is curbing its enthusiasm, then it is a mature and reasoned reaction which contrasts sharply to the tantrums thrown by other parties,” Recto said.
The Philippines’ approach to its legal, though non-binding, victory, is in sharp contrast to China’s offensive against the ruling.
“We’re calm and collected. Compare this to other countries who are sending gunboats. What does this say? Let me quote a Chinese saying: ‘He who strikes the first blow admits he’s lost the argument,'” the senator added.
The senator maintained there is no need to amplify the ruling, as it is already “loud and clear.” There is no reason, he added, to resort to “theatrics” to highlight the “obvious.”
“Tama lang ang posisyon ng Palasyo. (The Palace’s position is just right.) After all, the decision had already sent shockwaves throughout the world. So I think it is letting the decision speak for itself. In my view, it did not mute nor magnify it. No need to spin it,” he said.
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr earlier got the ire of netizens for his seemingly somber reaction as he announced the historic ruling. (READ: Why so gloomy? Netizens disappointed with Yasay reaction to South China Sea ruling)
#Yasay and #DFASec trended on Twitter, as many netizens expressed their disappointment with Yasay’s response. Yasay and the Duterte Cabinet have repeatedly called on the public and all parties to practice “sobriety” and “restraint” following the decision.
But for Recto, the Palace is just doing its job. He said he believes it has a clear plan but would rather not share it to the public as part of strategy.
Even former president Benigno Aquino III – who lodged the case against China before the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal under the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague – was “circumspect in his statement” on the monumental decision, Recto said.
“You don’t telegraph your punches. You don’t unveil what you plan to do in Twitter installments. You keep your cards close to your chest,” he said.
Recto said he believes that the decision will encourage the Philippines to assert its settled claims over the territory in “aggressively diplomatic fashion.”
“Alangan naman na ikaw na ang nanalo (It is unlikely that you are the winner) and you are the one waving the white flag first. Right is on our side. And that is superior to might any given day,” Recto said. (READ: PH victory over China proves ‘right is might’ – Del Rosario)
Recto also said that Filipinos should not expect any immediate results from the Philippine victory.
“This is a long game. We have to dig in. This is a protracted struggle that will take years. Hindi ito collection notice na due and demandable kaagad. (This is not a collection that is already due and can easily be demanded from the other party.) This requires skillful diplomacy. Ayon nga sa isang (According to a) Chinese saying, “To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill,” he said. – Rappler.com