|Filipino World War II veteran Celestino Almeda is no fan of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. - photo courtesy of the US Pinoys for Good Governance
MANILA, Philippines - Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is not well-liked by some Filipinos living in the United States.
Members of the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG) have sent a letter to President Benigno Aquino lambasting Trillanes and expressing support for Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.
The group accused Trillanes of trying to destroy del Rosario's reputation and for refusing Aquino's request to stop talking to media about the Philippines' territorial dispute with China.
USPGG said Trillanes' statements "undermine the Philippine government's position in dealing with China."
"We were alarmed with the disclosure that Sen. Trillanes had been meeting with China's officials who were with him in Beijing when he called you on the telephone to appoint him as your 'back door channel' to China which was their (Chinese) suggestion," the letter said.
"He has been making statements ... which parrot China's position," the group added. "We believe that Sen. Trillanes is acting more and more as China's 'back door channel' to the Philippines."
USPGG said it supports the Aquino administration's efforts to distance itself from Trillanes.
The group, on the other hand, threw its support behind del Rosario for standing up to China.
"We believe the Philippines is most fortunate to have him as our foreign affairs secretary at this critical time in our history," the organization added.
Those who signed the letter include USPGG chairperson Loida Nicolas Lewis and president Rodel Rodis.
Officials and members of the group went to the Capitol Hilton in Washington D.C. to declare their support for del Rosario, who was keynote speaker at a forum organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the US-Philippines Society.
The Palace earlier admitted that Trillanes was engaged in secret talks with Chinese officials over the Scarborough Shoal dispute.
However, his appointment has caused a deep rift with del Rosario, who had been officially in charge of negotiations with China and was excluded from the unofficial talks.
Trillanes claimed he had been responsible for easing tensions with China after the dispute erupted in April, and accused del Rosario of "treason" because of his allegedly aggressive tactics.
This drew flak from Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who supported del Rosario and accused Trillanes of undermining the Philippines' position with China.
"This guy is a fraud," Enrile said. "He told the Chinese we cannot impose our coastal protection." - with a report from Agence France-Presse