Senator Alan Peter Compañero Cayetano on Tuesday welcomed Philippine Ambassador to the UK Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s “one hundred percent” agreement with his stance that elevating the West Philippine Sea row with China to the United Nations is “counterproductive.”
“Let me point you to the comments of former Secretary of Foreign Affairs and former Presidential Spokesman of President Cory, and one of our statesmen Teddy Boy Locsin. He pointed it out in a different way na hindi ko nga naisip. Sabi niya, ‘Panalo ka na eh, irere-litigate mo pa,’” the independent senator said in an interview with members of the media on Tuesday, August 1.
This as Locsin, who like Cayetano was also Foreign Affairs Secretary under President Rodrigo Duterte, had tweeted that Senate Resolution 659 is a “farce” move because it only “re-litigates” what is already a “clear legal victory.”
“Litigate is to bring it to court para magkaroon ng trial. Sabi nga niya, y’ung tamang court was the PCA (Permanent Court of Arbitration), at panalo na tayo doon. So bakit mo pa dadalhin at isa-subject sa UN na wala namang enforcement mechanism at irere-ligitate mo uli,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano said the proposal to internationalize the Philippines-China dispute is a crucial issue that warrants the opinion of those who have a very good grasp of the topic.
He said Locsin, whose experience as a former Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations in 2017 and as Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 2018 to 2022, allowed him to understand the complexities of bringing the issue to the UNGA.
“Nakita ko din sa statement at sa pagkilos ni Secretary Locsin during his time na he kept on pushing [for diplomatic protests against China’s incursions in WPS]. In fact, nagkaroon pa ng time na ang bibigat ng mga tweet niya, but he also established relationships both with the Americans and the Chinese,” he said.
Like Cayetano, the Ambassador to the UK expressed doubt that the United States – with which the Philippines had restored its close ties under the current administration – would even stand up for the Philippines in the UN.
“George Washington warned succeeding administrations against entangling alliances; America was safest between sea and shining sea with no commitments to cross them,” Locsin wrote.
Cayetano reiterated his call to “look at history” for solid proof that bilateral talk is the most effective way to “win the argument.”
“We do not want merely to argue but to win the argument itself and end the dispute the best way we Filipinos know how: peacefully and diplomatically,” he said.