CNN recalls Duterte speeches, confirms agreement allowing China to fish in WPS
CHEERS TO CNN Philippines for recalling Duterte’s 2019 pronouncements contradicting Malacanang’s current denial that the president had entered into an agreement with Chinese president Xi Jinping allowing Chinese vessels to fish in Philippine waters. The report, aired last April 26 on News Night, quoted Duterte’s previous statements as proof that he did allow them to do so.
CNN Philippines’ Tristan Nodalo said that this may be the reason why China has ignored the DFA’s 78 diplomatic protests against the intrusion of Chinese vessels in PH waters. His report cited the column of Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio which pointed to the verbal agreement that Duterte had himself admitted he made with Xi Jinping. The report also quoted Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque who described Carpio’s statements as “malicious speculations and false claims.”
To set the record straight, Nodalo presented a timeline complete with video clips and dates showing clearly when Duterte and his then presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo affirmed the verbal fishing agreement with China in June 2019. The timeline established without question the falsehood of Roque’s claims that no such agreement exists.
Nodalo concluded his report with the observation that if the verbal agreement is true and in effect, its enforcement would be “tantamount to a violation of the Constitution.” He cited the provision in the Charter that mandates the state to reserve its marine wealth exclusively for Filipino citizens.
ABS-CBN, GMA News, Philstar.com, Inquirer.net, and VERA Files also reported the conflicting views of Carpio and Roque, as well as Duterte’s admission that he allowed the Chinese to fish in Philippine waters. VERA Files was thorough in recalling Duterte’s speeches and fact-checking Roque’s flawed statement. But CNN’s report stands out for its visual and chronological presentation of the government’s submission to China’s pressure all the way to its clear conclusion.
For too long, the government has used the president’s bully pulpit to assert its views, claiming or disclaiming as it pleases. Finally, and hopefully, there will be enough journalists and news organizations who will make the effort to establish the facts and present the truth, and when necessary, to expose the lies being said at the highest levels of government.