Cayetano 'a political snake' amid China row – Trillanes
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV slammed Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano for questioning his backdoor negotiations with China during the 2012 Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) standoff.
In a statement on Sunday, August 5, Trillanes said Cayetano knew about his role as the Philippines' backdoor negotiator with China, which sent 80 to 100 vessels around Panatag Shoal in 2012.
"Secretary Cayetano has proven to be a political snake. The Panatag standoff happened in 2012 during which time Cayetano was still a loyal ally of the Aquino administration, so obviously, he never saw anything wrong with how PNoy resolved it then," said Trillanes.
The senator was responding to Cayetano's open letter telling former president Benigno Aquino III that his administration lost control of Panatag Shoal, as well as opportunities in research and environmental preservation, when they brought China to court over the West Philippine Sea dispute.
Four of the 11 questions Cayetano raised involved queries on the true nature of Trillanes' role in the Panatag Shoal standoff. But Trillanes said he had informed senators, including Cayetano, about his mission as backchannel negotiator and even granted media interviews on the matter.
"But for the benefit of those pretending to be blind and deaf, like Cayetano, for the nth time I will repeat the facts behind my role as backchannel negotiator," he added.
Trillanes said he was tasked to "deescalate the tension in the shoal" and reduce the number of Chinese ships in the area.
"The issue of sovereignty was not covered and was never discussed. The negotiations lasted for about 3 months, at the end of which we were able to reduce the number of Chinese ships in the area to just 3, all of which were positioned outside the shoal. In short, I was able to accomplish my mission," he said.
Trillanes said China's refusal to remove the remaining 3 ships "forced the hand" of Aquino to file the arbitration case before a tribunal in The Hague.
Trillanes on Sunday asked Cayetano and Duterte: "Why aren't you fighting for our sovereignty the way you promised during the campaign?" – Rappler.com