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Former Filipino senator: Aquino administration hid the truth about the arbitration


07-24-2016 10:28 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

Former Filipino senator Francisco Tatad claims the previous Aquino government was not transparent enough to the public regarding the arbitration process. He made his claims in a column published by The Manila Times, the oldest daily English language newspaper in the Philippines. Later in an interview, he also pointed out the truth behind the case.

30 million US dollars. It is reported that the Aquino administration spent that amount to file the South China Sea arbitration. 

However, according to the former minister of Public Information, there is no proof that the fund was from a legal source. And he asks if it might be an investment from outside the Philippines.

"Because on our constitution, you cannot spend a single cent from the treasury without an operation authorized by law, authorized by congress. There is no such thing in our books, so where did they get 30 million, just for lawyers. I mean, if the information is there, it should in the book, it should be publicized. We have a budget. We have appropriation in the Congress every year, it should be there. If this is a legal appropriation, but we don't know. I have to ask if there are foreign donors," he said.

However, this supposed investment could be made in vain. The Permanent Court of Arbitration that oversaw the case is not a real court. The results from the case cannot be enforced.

"In fact, we also discovered for ourselves, this so called court is not a real court. It is not part of the UN system. It was founded in 1899 as an organization provides services to those who seek arbitration. So it can't solve disputes, it provides services," he said.

And regarding recent intensified visits by senior US officials to the Philippines, Tatad said that this only demonstrates the United States' ambitious attempts in meddling in the security of the region.

"This increased traffic of US officials a couple of days before the ruling. The Secretary of Defense of US Carter called the Philippine Defense Secretary. These defense officials talked about the impending ruling. A few hours before the ruling came,   the department of state counselor Kristie Kenney called our foreign secretary to ask him to respect the ruling of the so called court. And then there is a delegation of politicians, US senator, congressmen. Now State Secretary Kerry is coming to talk to our president and who else about this particular issue, so the concern of the U.S. seems to be much more pronounced than anything else we have seen right now," he said.

Tatad called on the Philippines to reestablish a bilateral friendship with China, and to settle its political differences with China on the basis of human and economic factors. 

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