‘Gentlemen’s agreement’ probe resolution filed

April 30, 2024 Jester P. Manalastas 126 views

A resolution calling for an investigation on the so-called gentlemen’s agreement between former President Rodrigo Duterte and China government on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) has been filed in the House of Representatives.

House Assistant Majority Leader Zambales Rep. Jay Khonghun authored HR 1684, initiating an investigation in order to get into the bottom of the confusing versions on the issue.

There are reports that Duterte has forged agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding the claims of the Philippines in the WPS.

According to Khonghun, inviting members of former president Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s cabinet to an inquiry in the House of Representatives will show the Filipino people what really happened on his reported deal.

“We welcome this probe to get to the bottom of the issue. We want to sift the chaff from the grain, so to speak. Or in this case – the lies or propaganda peddled by many and the real score (or truth) behind it,” Khonghun, a leader of the so-called Young Guns in the House, asserted in expressing support to the statement of Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez’s call to probe gentleman’s agreement.

“The investigation will give us a clearer picture, or the real big picture, of what really transpired because we only read the exchanges in the media. So, the congressional probe will give us a chance to hear it directly from the resource persons.”he said.

Khonghun noted allegations that Duterte’s decision (although verbally) may have “bargained away our rights to our territory and exclusive economic zone” in the West Philippine Sea, which is a very serious offense.

“This is why we need to dig deeper into this, and leave no stone unturned. This is for the sake of the Filipino people especially our fishermen making a living in the area,” he said.

“We also want to know the extent of the supposed agreement. What makes China think it is binding on President Bongbong Marcos Jr.’s administration, and what makes Beijing think they can enforce it without any treaty or official concurrence from the national government,” Khonghun added.

In his resolution, the administration lawmaker said “there is a necessity to look into such agreement to check if the same is true since it has been used as China’s justification of its harassment of Filipino resupply boats – including its use of water canons on them.”

“While the former president confirmed at a press conference last April 11 in Davao City, and its main goal was to avert armed confrontation between Filipinos and Chinese in the WPS, it only favors Beijing and compromises the Philippines’ national interest,” Khonghun also said.

The House Assistant Majority Leader also indicated it is very ironic that the Duterte-Xi deal was “supposed to limit the supply sent by the government to the soldiers stationed in grounded BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.”

“The so-called gentleman’s agreement, if any, is constitutionally void since it is tantamount to the surrender of our country’s rights over our exclusive economic zone,” Khonghun warned, noting a “thorough investigation” in aid of legislation is a must.