HOW DID WE LOSE PANATAG (SCARBOROUGH)?

Congress should probe Aquino, Trillanes and del Rosario

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First of Two Parts

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Part 2:China reclaims, fortifies territories; What does Aquino do?

Part 3: Aquino gave China reason for reclamation

Part 4: Use ‘BBL’ and CCT funds to defend our Kalayaan sovereignty

Cleverly, the Chinese wouldn’t boast about it, of course, but because of the stupid bungling of President Aquino, we lost Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) – forever – to China.

This is the second time we lost territory in the South China/West Philippine Sea. Marcos’ forces on Pugad Island in 1975 lost that territory when they attended their commander’s birthday party on the nearby Parola island, reportedly lured by the prospect of Vietnamese prostitutes stationed there as promised by their Vietnamese friends. They returned the next day to find a Vietnamese full-armed garrison, their cannons aimed at whoever approached the island.

I’m not sure which is worse: Losing territory because sex-starved troops abandoned their posts in 1975, or losing territory in 2012 when China fooled the President and a Senator of the Republic.

Congress should probe Aquino, his accomplice Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario – to determine how they lost Philippine territory, so we won’t make the same mistakes and continue to lose our islands in the Spratlys one by one.

Losing our territory alone – even if that were solely because of Aquino’s ineptness – is sufficient ground to impeach him, if only we had an independent Congress that had balls.

Justice Antonio Carpio’s ancient maps proving Bajo de Masinloc, the shoal’s other name, belonged to us centuries ago may not be worth their photocopies, even if put in impressive frames and impressively hung on a museum. So far, and ever will be, “occupation is ownership” has been the real law that has governed the territorial disputes all over the globe, and at all times.

In his patriotic crusade, Carpio should, instead, use his prestige to call for an investigation by the Senate or the House of Representatives to determine how this Administration lost Panatag Shoal to the Chinese.

Which is worse: Lonely troops fooled, or a President and a Senator hoodwinked?

Which is worse: Lonely troops fooled, or a President and a Senator hoodwinked?

We don’t have just one objective analyst claiming that we have already lost Panatag but two, and more I think would come out as the surprise of the loss settles down. Already, even a Wikipedia entry on “Scarborough Shoal” matter-of-factly points out: “Since the 2012 Scarborough Shoal standoff, access to the territory has been restricted by the People’s Republic of China.”

The first to reveal in public what most governments already knew about the situation was a November 2014 study by the CNA (Center for Naval Analyses), a research and development center for the Navy and Marine Corps funded by the federal government. I reported on this study entitled “The South China Sea: Assessing US Policy and Options for the Future” in my June 1 column.

In that study, the CNA matter-of-factly pointed out:

“From its perspective, China resolved the sovereignty dispute with the Philippines over Scarborough Shoal in 2012 when it established control over the shoal. Again, it is unlikely to relinquish it. The government of the Philippines is in no position to even begin to contemplate the use of force to recover Scarborough, and the United States is not going to become involved in any attempt to expel the Chinese.”

Wrested control
More recently, it is a June 19, 2015 article in the respected www.thediplomat.com entitled “South China Sea: Satellite Images Show Pace of China’s Subi Reef Reclamation” by one Victor Robert Lee that makes up the second confirmation that under President Aquino’s watch, we lost Scarborough Shoal. The article claimed:

“Chinese Coast Guard ships of the same “3401-class” have recently been used by Beijing to wrest control of the Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines, and to blockade the Second Thomas Shoal (also called Ayungin), where a unit of Filipino marines has been stationed.”

Victor Robert Lee – a pseudonym – has recently gained much credibility with regard to the South China tension because it was under his byline that high-definition, detailed satellite images of China’s frenetic infrastructure activities on islands and atolls it occupies were publicly released. The images could have only been acquired by top-secret US spy satellites.

Both the CNA study and Lee didn’t explain how we lost Panatag Shoal.

Here’s how:
Although China had long been claiming Scarborough Shoal, alleging that it is within its “nine-dash line,” there had never been, before 2012, an attempt from either Chinese or Filipino forces to permanently station troops there. The competing claims were seemingly ignored by vessels from both countries whose fishermen use a lagoon in the area as a refuge from storms. This “peaceful coexistence” of sorts changed suddenly in April 2012.

April 10, 2012: Sailors from a Philippine Navy surveillance ship board eight Chinese fishing vessels anchored in the shoal’s lagoon. They try to arrest the Chinese fishermen for illegal fishing and “harvesting endangered marine species.” However, two Chinese maritime surveillance ships come to their rescue and prevent the arrests in circumstances that are unclear.

April 11: Probably itching to try his warship out, President Aquino orders the frigate BRP Gregorio del Pilar – just “brand new” as the US coast guard had refurbished it and turned it over to our navy in May 2011 – to confront the Chinese at Panatag. “What is important is we take care of our sovereignty. We cannot give [Scarborough Shoal] away and we cannot depend on others but ourselves,” Aquino blustered.

April 12: Three Chinese Maritime Surveillance Ships (CMS), eventually increasing in number to 10, enter the shoal, bringing with them a flotilla of 31 Chinese fishing boats and 50 dinghies.

BRP Gregorio del Pilar – unexpectedly – leaves the area, according to Navy Flag Officer in Command Alexander Pama, “to replenish fuel and food provisions” in its base in La Union. However, a vessel of our Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and two Coast Guard vessels remained near the entrance to the shoal’s lagoon.

The subsequent events in June, when China tightened its hold on Panatag after the BRP Gregorio del Pilar left (fled?), aren’t clear on who to blame other than Aquino – Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario or Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th, who around that time had been appointed by Aquino as his personal envoy to China to resolve the crisis.

Aide memoire
In his aide memoire on his “Backchannel Talks” made available to me, Trillanes put the blame squarely on del Rosario:

“PNoy directed me to work on the sequential withdrawal of government ships inside the shoal. However, on the morning of June 4, PNoy called me to inform me that our BFAR vessel has already left the shoal but China reneged on the agreement of simultaneous withdrawal of their ships, so two of them [were]still inside the shoal.

“I asked him who agreed with what, since I was just hammering out the details of the sequential withdrawal because the mouth of the shoal was too narrow for a simultaneous withdrawal. The President told me that Sec. del Rosario told him about the agreement reached in Washington.

“This time I asked PNoy: ‘If the agreement was simultaneous withdrawal, why did we leave first?’ PNoy responded to this effect: “Kaya nga sinabihan ko si Albert kung bakit niya pinalabas yung BFAR na hindi ko nalalaman.” (“That’s why I asked Albert [del Rosario]why he ordered the BFAR vessels to leave without my permission.”)

“Around 10 June, PNoy informed me that the (remaining BFAR) vessel was ordered to proceed to Subic to undergo repairs and directed me to ask Beijing to reciprocate. On 15 June, PNoy informed me again that he has ordered the pullout of the 2 remaining PCG (Philippine Coast Guard) ships from the shoal, citing an incoming typhoon as the reason, and directed me to ask Beijing to reciprocate.

It is astonishing, though, how Trillanes would boast that because of his talks with this Chinese contacts, he got them to get their 2 CMS vessels and 14 fishing boats out of the shoal, and to say: “Only 8 CMS (Chinese Maritime Surveillance) vessels remain at this time.”
 
How dimwit can one be?
It is that “REMAINING” flotilla of CMS ships on Panatag that wrested sovereignty from us, and our vessels and even fishermen are now shooed away by other Chinese ships patrolling the lagoon’s perimeter. There is no time now that there are no Chinese vessels in and out of the shoal.

In short, we lost Panatag Shoal because Aquino was fooled by the Chinese, made possible by the fact that he bypassed the foreign affairs and defense departments and believed what his personal envoy, Trillanes, told him.

Trillanes, who probably fancied himself as the Filipino Kissinger but who had never had an experience in diplomacy nor in negotiations with a foreign power, believed the Chinese when they told him they would withdraw their ships from Panatag Shoal. And this gullible president believed him.

Laughing at Aquino
Chinese strategists must have rolled on the ground laughing at Aquino. They brilliantly manipulated Trillanes and their US contacts to fool Aquino that they would withdraw their ships from Scarborough if we did. They didn’t.

Trillanes even concocted scenarios for a “simultaneous” withdrawal. But when Aquino ordered our ships out, the Chinese stayed, and their officers and sailors in the ships on Panatag probably waived at them, smiling ear to ear, Goodbye, stupid Filipinos.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Three years later, this President also bypassed the Philippine National Police and the Defense Department to rely – as he did on Trillanes – on the suspended Alan Purisima, his bosom friend, to lead the secret tragic operation to terminate an international terrorist in Mamasapano. That resulted in the massacre of 44 elite troops.

The Panatag operation fortunately didn’t result in any loss of lives, but of our territory – forever, unless we become a military power and grab it back from the Chinese.

The Senate had over 50 hearings called by Trillanes to investigate the alleged overprice 10 years ago of the Makati government’s new building and science high school. Over a dozen hearings were conducted to investigate the Mamasapano massacre.

Isn’t the loss of Philippine territory a serious blunder enough to warrant a Senate investigation, not just to pinpoint accountability but also to learn lessons so we won’t lose any more territory as stupidly as Aquino did? I’m sure del Rosario would be raring to give his testimony.

Next week, lessons we should learn from Aquino’s Scarborough debacle.

Part 2: China reclaims, fortifies territories; What does Aquino do?

Part 3:Aquino gave China reason for reclamation

Part 4: Use ‘BBL’ and CCT funds to defend our Kalayaan sovereignty

tiglao@manilatimes@gmail.com
FB: Bobi Tiglao

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36 Comments

  1. There is no realistic way that the government could have held the shoal once China decided to take it. They just don’t have the ships or resources to compete. That’s the consequence of neglect for the Armed Forces that goes all the way back to Marcos, not the fault of this administration.

  2. kahapon ang balita na nabasa ko, 7 out of 10 pinoys are poor. well, buhay pa naman kayo! may pagpag naman d’yan!

    mrt – out of more than 70 trains only 7 remain running…vote mar roxas for president next year!

    west ph sea / bbl, etc. – comes 2016, by he end of pnoy’s term, out of 7,100 ph islands, only 7 will remain.

    hail the greatest prez ph ever had!!

  3. Simula ng magtraidor si ninoy Aquino,at ipagkanulo niya si Marcos at ng alisin nila,kasama ang mga elite at mga maraming hanggal na edukado,at mga yellow fanatics ay naging busabos ang pilipinas,!!
    Ng mahalal si Estrada ay umusok ang galit ng mga hanggal na edukado at ayaw nilang tanggapin na sa isang katulad lang ni Estrada na actor ay masira ay ego at pride nila,nagsunog sila ng kilay para maging isang taong may mataas na pinag-aralan ay mababaliwala lang,kapag naging mabuti at maayos ang pamamalakad ni erap!!
    Nagpupuyos ang damdamin at umusok ang damdamin sa poot! Ayaw nila na malamangan lang ng isang actor!!
    Kaya nag-isip demonyo ang mga hanggal na edukado,lahat ay ginawa para masira si erap upang ang mga taong bayan ay maniwala!
    Itinanim nila sa utak ng mga uto-utong nag-aral kuno! Na kapagmahirap ang tao at artists ay bobo at masama!!maraming hanggal ang naniwala!!hanggang ngayon ang dami pa nito dito!!
    Hindi maaangkin ng china ang mga isla kung natapos lang ni erap ang pagka-pangulo niya at hindi sana tayo sunudsunuran sa US,baka may renta ang lahat ng base nila dito!

  4. Di na tayo natututo sa world affairs, si Hitler pinagloloko ang Great Britain at France after he told the gullible leaders of these countries in the late 1930s that after his (Hitler) invasion of Austria, he would no longer invade his neighbors. Dahil sa takot sa giyera ang Britain and France, pinabayaan si Hitler. Ano nangyari, ayon ni Blitzkrieg ni Hitler ang Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, Russia, and others.
    LINK PALA NG Q& A ko kay Speaker Joe de Venecia “ICAPP Chair on South China Sea’s row: Suspend Sovereignty” http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com/2015/06/q-icapp-chair-on-south-china-seas-row.html

  5. I really don’t understand why no one making actions on this NO strong leaders even a group of people who solidly united to fight for our territory! everybody was talking only without a solid action to resolve the problems in spratlys island.. what kind of leaders we have from president to senators to congressmen and other government officials or even the supreme court and other genius politician if we have to play the game and be wiser than this Chinese people.. according to research that in this area have a huge of reserve natural gas and other minerals that will make the Philippines the richest country in the world then why we letting those area unattended and let the Chinese to come freely and let them build structures there in the first place. No one interested that the Philippines become number one in the world or they don’t care because what is important for them is their own pocket their own ambition to become rich and let the Philippines poor till the end of the world! we let the case go on process on international while the chinese ignoring it and they are actually buildings on the area. they are wiser than our stupid leaders without strategic wise plan! The Lord will not come now to save the islands .. Do action and we will pray that the good Lord will help us to save our own territories .

  6. Amnata Pundit on

    The best way to get back the Panatag Shoal is to make Bongbong Marcos our President. If he appoints his mother Imelda as special envoy to China she will charm the Chinese out of Panatag in 10 minutes, Im sure. Sino lang ang makakapag-Bangon Muli ng Pilipinas? Marcos Pa Rin, wala ng iba !

  7. Nonoy Bernardino on

    We are wasting our energy talking trash regarding the Chinese grabbing the Spratly.
    We should therefore focus our energy to get rid of these idiots in Malacanyang. No strong words will sink into their thick skin of those idiots.

    They are busy for the coming election. I am strongly suggesting that we go on for “people’s power” again by not voting any of these kind…..sickening!!!!

    The kind of Binay, the leper, will surely sell this country to the Chinese, it’s 100%!!!!
    How do you think he will handle this issue, sa itsura na lang, you can see the malicious face of this “leper” as well spoken by himself.

    I encourage every body to commit civil disobedience:
    1. Not vote Actors/actresses
    2. Do not vote for De Lima, have a serious look at her face, please
    3. Do not vote those people associated with Noy-Noy, Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaase!!

    • There is always a second story..I don’t buy all what was said here by Mr. Tiglao. We need to pursue our claim to the Spratly Islands by peaceful means and we have good grounds to win the case. I would not put the blame on PNOY, Trillanes and Del Rosario why China has taken some of the islands. In my books they have done very well! Spratly islands has always been in contention and will always be. If hostility breaks, China has more to lose than the Philippines.

  8. This is what we get from our incompetent gov’t officials. Next to come is the turnover of half of Mindanao to a terrorist group MILF via BBL. This is the crowning glory of PNOY..bow

  9. nadenggoy ng mga tsino si trillanes. bakit siya pumayag na umalis tayo samantalang ang chinese hindi umalis. dapat chinese muna ang umalis dahil tayo ang may teritoryo nito.. napakalaking tanga talaga.. sila ang dapat ang unang umalis dahil atin iyon…
    gago gago gago , tanga , tanga talaga at duwag ang itong Presidenteng ito, o talagang sinasadya nya na ipamigay na sa china isa isa ang ating isla….???
    kailangan magkaroon na ng imbestigasyon ito sa senado…………
    gising pilipinas…

  10. Before the blame game, are you sure we lose and/or temporarily claimed by China? I thought we have legal ground under UNCLOS that Scarborough Islet is within Philippines EEZ. It’s about time that we all unite and fight our enemies and not to be divided. Let’s get signature of all those who want to fight the Chinese and retake the islands.

    • Yes..,its easy blaming n pinpointing the person in charge or under in charge..,but also it is still not a lost bcoz they let it handle by international law about sea…Hindi puedeng makipag brasohan ang Pilipinas sa China at that time…,they are BiG country than us and the our still in recovering economically…why they dont go back to Gloria’s regime 2004.they allowed China to start survey in our territory.now they dont wanna leave bcoz of what they found>BIG oil RESERVE.

  11. Vic Penetrante on

    More important than a ‘probe’, why is Congress not acting? It is the only body we have who can AVERT OR APPROVE a war. Let us bombard the UN and China with protest letters coming from the Congressmen.

  12. kalibo aklan on

    The Filipinos are to be blamed itself with this problem, you see those islands as being claimed by Philippines since Spanish times. So why did they not inhabit those islands you see perhaps the square meter of those islands would only be 5 cents rather done buy a lot in Forbes Park.

  13. Our politicians are simply too busy fighting each other that they can’t even be bothered by the foreign threat looming just beyond our shores.

  14. The Chinese have capable people running their country. Sad to say we have idiots and fools in charge of ours. Look at what we have done since we lost the shoal. We file an arbitration case in which China refuses to participate in. What a waste.

    • Just bomb those sons bitches and blow their asses off to kingdom come. let the BIFF, Abu Sayyaf, MILF and MNLF do it. Since they are more capable that our AFP

  15. Bert O. Romero on

    Losing Philippine-claimed territories in the South China Sea is certainly a most condemnable legacy that President Aquino and Foreign Secretary del Rosario can leave to the Filipino people when they hopefully vacate their positions in 2016. Or are both of them , especially del Rosario, hoping to remain in government so they can further wreck havoc on the country’s territorial integrity , on a bigger scale this time, with the Bangsamoro Republic still unsettled?

    The talk in the DFA has been that del Rosario has never been protective of its personnel. With such a reputation, how can one expect him to competently promote territorial interests of the country?

  16. Idiocy at the highest levels of government .. More concerned with image( now falling apart) rather than substance .. We have a shell of a government pretending governance without delivery of even the most basic services…. People are poorer.. Infrastructure is falling apart .. SME’s are closing down .. Unployment is increasing … Only the oligarchs and politicians with the administration are getting fat and filling their pockets

  17. We are timid claimant. We profess as good citizen of the world (somebody whispered Filipinos are thieves/corrupt) We blundered our claims.

  18. By all means, Aquino and Trillanes should be investigated and made to account for their folly. Amb. Del Risario should be convinced to act as witness against Aquino and Trillanes. These two dumbs should be guillotined for treachery.

  19. Trillanes will not initiate a Senate investigation regarding this issue. It will expose his stupidity and being a mega dumb a….hole.

  20. laguatanlawzen.com on

    Oh, my goodness, that’s a lot of gross unpardonable stupidity committed by Abnoy, great pretender Trillanes 4th and Alberto del Rosario. Who else? Kawawa ang Pinas!

  21. A typical Kapangpangan comment full of shit and falsehood.
    By the way…. Have you noticed strange looking men roaming around your neighborhood?

  22. Mar Padilla, Jr. on

    To start with, I don’t know how many Tongressman and Senador/ Coprador knows the true situation when the stupid Chinese re-take the position at the Panatag/Shoal. And these Congressman and Senators got a ball. This is the problem with our electoral system, when a party wins all both houses and the Presidency. Those elected by the people, and for the people of both houses, especially those with a masters degrees and passing the board exam, including those degree holders and High School only, has no knowledge of the position which they sake for. They only think of the honor that goes with the elected position and the monies that goes into their pocket whether legal or illegal, it doesn’t matter to them. Now you wake up one morning and a TERRITORY OF THE PHILIPINE STATE, was stolen by stupid warmongering people, of course the CHINESE. Mind you how many Chinese Spies living in the Philippines, since it became an Independent Republic and neither all the Agencies of the Republic could not catch even one CHINESE SPY because of LAGAY SYSTEM. It is right to investigate Pres. Panot Aquino, DFA Secretary Del Rosario, Sen Trillanes, the MAGDALO MAN and others. After the 2016 election, it is better to create a SPECIAL COURT WITH FIVE (5) JUDGES and a THREE OR FOUR SPECIAL PROSECUTOR to try these Ex-Government Official or other Official who are still in-service, including the Ex-President of the Republic. DO NOT PUT THE INVESTIGATION UNDER THE HOUSE OF SENATE OR BOTH HOUSES, AS IT IS VERY EASY TO WHITE-WASH THIS VERY IMPORTANT CASE. Voters please vote for an intelligent and independent minded person to both houses, and not a PARTIDISTA who follow only what his/her party ordered them to do and vote for. Of course with LAGAY to their infrastructure projects.

  23. “Trillanes even concocted scenarios for a ‘simultaneous’ withdrawal. But when Aquino ordered our ships out, the Chinese stayed…”

    nagtataka nga ako kung ano ba ang qualities ni Trillanes at siya ang pinadala ni Pnoy sa Tsina sa gayong napaka-sensitive na issue ng Scarborough shoal. Aba’y bigla bigla nagkaroon ng expertise si Trillanes sa foreign diplomatic talks gayong he is a neophyte.

    kine-claim pa ni Trillanes sa Punto por Punto tv show na victory for the Filipino people dahil mula sa napakainit na situation ay naging matahimik na ang issue. iyon pala ay nawala na sa Pilipinas ang Scarborough. tama nga ang allegation na nakita ng Chinese counterpart na “pliable” si Trillanes. nauto pala si Trillanes.

    • sir, di mo na appreciate na gwapo daw si trillanes, yun siguro number 1 qualifications non…

  24. Felimon A. Soria on

    Now God forbid we might have a vice president who sold us out.(Tillanes: I am 100 % sure to be a candidate for vice president)

    • yang si trillanes ay WALA NG ginawa kunT SAMA NG LOOB .. REAL TROUBLE MAKER mula ng maupo . ERYTIME trillanes talks , I AM CYNICAL … trillanes is suPER NIFARIC , FRIVOLIC .. he is an IMP A REAL PUNK … MY FELLOW FILIPINOS , DO NOT VOTE FOR TRILLANES ,, GET RID OF HIM .. ANG PINAGMAMALAKI NYA PARATI marami daw cya ginawa bills .. SA PILIPINAS , ANG MORE IMPORTANT AY ANU BA GINAWA MO , MAY GINAWA KA BA PARA SA MGA PILIPINO NA NAGHIHIRAP WHAT ARE BILLS FOR IF YOU YOURSELF (trillanes ay CORRUPT AT PURO KASINUNGALINGAN ANG MGA ALLEGA TIONS MO .. TRILLANES KEEP ON RESEARCHING ON FOW TO DIVIDE THE NATION AND THE FILIPINO FAMILY

  25. Johnny Ramos on

    I blame Trillanes for these, the guy does not even have actual naval war experience since he was in the navy yard working on papers work. He even tried to out do Secretary Del Rosario who have a dozen diplomatic advisers in diplomatic negotiations. The only experience he actually have are two failed coup in two hotels.

  26. Mario Escobido on

    this is what happens when we elect a s2pid president who knows nothing but grabbing credit from and putting blame on somebody else.

  27. The only way to reclaim Bajo de Masinloc from the Chinise is to assemble a flotilla of derelict ships and barges, sail them full ahead and beach them at Bajo de Masinloc to serve as “mojon” or marker to show that it is Phil. territory although occupied by the Chinese?