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Press Release - Hontiveros seeks inquiry into Duterte-China "gentleman's agreement"

Senator Risa Hontiveros has filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the claim of a "gentleman's agreement" involving the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte and the Chinese government, which restricted the repair and rehabilitation of the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal.

"This 'gentleman's agreement' is treasonous. While China, in any case, will most likely attack our resupply missions en route to Ayungin, this sham of an agreement only gave Beijing more ammunition to assert her baseless claims. Kung totoo ang kasunduan, mukhang isinuko nga ni Duterte ang teritoryo ng Pilipinas," Hontiveros said.

In Proposed Senate Resolution No. 982, Hontiveros stressed that if the agreement is confirmed to be true, it would be tantamount to a surrender of Philippine sovereignty and, in the words of former Philippine Navy flag officer-in-command Eduardo Santos, "an act of treason."

The resolution also stated that the National Security Council itself, through its Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya, said that it was not aware of such an agreement. Malaya further said that Atty. Harry Roque, who revealed this so-called agreement, should explain the circumstances of the deal and how it was brokered, considering its implications to national security.

"Pati pambansang seguridad natin nalagay sa pahamak dahil sa walang-dangal na 'gentleman's agreement' na yan. China is already all around us - sa telecoms, sa national grid, sa karagatan - at mas lalo lang pinalakas ni Duterte ang Tsina sa kasunduang di umanong pinasukan niya," the senator said.

"It is our duty to fortify the BRP Sierra Madre. Without it on Ayungin, we effectively give way for China to illegally occupy what is ours. If we stop reinforcing the Sierra Madre, we not only lose a crucial, strategic outpost, but also fail to defend our sovereignty," Hontiveros concluded.