Tolentino Vice President Sara Duterte and Senator Francis Tolentino visited the Muslim community at the Golden Mosque in Quiapo, Manila and distributed food packs. The two urge the believers of Islam to always follow peace and order wherever they go in the country.

Tolentino invokes heroes’ sacrifices on Araw ng Kagatingan

April 9, 2024 People's Tonight 86 views

Tolentino1AS the nation celebrates Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) yesterday, Senator Francis “Tol” Tolentino invoked the sacrifice of Filipino heroes against the so-called gentleman’s agreement China has been insisting on regarding the dispute on the Ayungin Shoal, where the BRP Sierra Madre was grounded to serve as the Philippines’ outpost at the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“We need to protect our nation. We cannot give away our independence because of the reasons they are saying. On the Day of Valor, all the sacrifices of our forebears, including my relatives who were in the death march, cannot be disregarded,” Tolentino said in a statement with regard to China’s insistence on the so-called gentleman’s agreement.

“Our independence must not be given away, waived, or abandoned, especially when we consider the rights of the future generation. Those who are pushing that gentlemen’s agreement have no right to decide for the next generation. If they want to give up the Philippine claims, it is very wrong,” the lawmaker warned.

Tolentino said that former President Rodrigo Duterte had already denied the gentlemen’s agreement with President Xi Jinping through the former presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo, disputing Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque, who confirmed the existence of the gentleman’s agreement.

As China and Roque claim, the so-called gentleman’s agreement was done verbally. The lawmaker said it must be documented with a transcript of the talks so that the Senate can ratify.

“If you look at the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, they must be in writing, which the Senate must ratify. Unless you have a transcript submitted by the Department of Foreign Affairs for the Senate to ratify, how will you ratify something that is verbal?” Tolentino said.

He added: “If it’s not in writing, it is not considered as an agreement ratifiable by the Senate pursuant to our constitution. So, what agreement are we talking about?”

Tolentino said China is adamant about the gentleman’s agreement because it favors its interests at the WPS, which is within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) and affirmed by the 2016 Arbitral Ruling.