Press Release
July 26, 2019

De Lima hits Duterte's failure to stand up to China in 4th SONA

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed dismay over Mr. Duterte's continued failure to stand up to China on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) issue, as again manifested in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 22.

De Lima, a known critic of the Duterte administration, said the SONA was the perfect opportunity for Mr. Duterte to show that he is one with the Filipino people by condemning China's continued bullying and aggression in the West Philippine Sea.

"He (Duterte) can start being a Filipino and side with his own countrymen, instead of raising the bogeyman that war is inevitable for any people who dare to stand up to the bullying of a bigger neighbor," she said.

De Lima, the staunchest critic of Duterte and his bloody war against drugs and rampant human rights abuses, expressed her views in her "Commentary on Duterte's Midterm SONA" entitled "No Fight Left Inside Duterte" released last July 24.

Last July 22, in his address before members of Congress, Duterte pledged to stop China from fishing within the country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EZZ) but only "in due time." He did not specify when and how he will stop China from fishing in our EZZ.

The lady Senator from Bicol pointed out that Mr. Duterte, the country's chief architect of foreign policy, missed on the opportunity to show his patriotism and loyalty to the Filipino people and the Philippine flag because of his lack of courage and honor.

"Anyone can be a traitor. But it takes someone of honor and courage to lead this country against China's acts of aggression in the West Philippine Sea. Obviously, Duterte is not the one," she said.

"Kung wala kang magagawa sa pagbabanta ng China, bakit ka pa naging Pangulo?" she added.

De Lima, a former justice secretary, also said Duterte should even be ashamed of himself for narrating, in the presence of the Chinese ambassador, details of his dialogue with Chinese leader Xi Jinping that convinced him to surrender and sue for peace.

"Nakakahiya ka Ginoong Duterte, sa harap ka pa ng Ambassador ng China nagkuwento kung papaano nabahag ang iyong buntot kay Xi Jinping," she pointed out.

According to her, Mr. Duterte can say whatever he wants but it would not help hide the truth about his surrender to China and his act of treason against the Filipino people and to his sworn duty as President.

In addition, De Lima said Duterte cannot achieve a comprehensive independent foreign policy by being beholden to China's whims and caprices while sacrificing the interest and welfare of the Filipino people.

"One cannot defend the nation and its sovereignty by appeasing China and turning the country into its satellite State," stressed De Lima,

De Lima has previously challenged the Duterte administration to make public the "secret deal" Mr. Duterte has entered with China allowing the Chinese to fish in the country's EEZ.

She argued that no executive agreement or even international treaty can supersede the Philippine Constitution because the power to enter into executive agreements and international treaties is derived from it.

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