FVR backs Aquino on U.N. arbitration case

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 22 2017 02:09 AM | Updated as of Apr 22 2017 05:44 AM

Former presidents Fidel V. Ramos, Benigno Aquino, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Ramos: Arroyo's protest must be addressed to China

MANILA - Former President Fidel V. Ramos on Friday said he is supporting then President Benigno Aquino's decision for the Philippines to file an arbitration case before a United Nations tribunal, in the wake of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo blaming Aquino for supposedly provoking China into building structures in the West Philippine Sea.

"The submission to the international tribunal under the U.N. to me is a correct step. We must protest not only to the country involved but also to the U.N. for any violation of any international covenant or international law," Ramos said.

Ramos said even if the Philippines' decision to submit the case to the UN tribunal might have provoked China, Arroyo is barking up the wrong tree.

"She is correct but it is not the proper target," he said. "The protest must be addressed to China."

CHINESE COAST GUARD HARASSMENT

Ramos also said the Philippine government should file a protest with the Chinese embassy over the reported harassment suffered by Filipino fishermen at the hands of Chinese Coast Guard near the disputed Union Banks in March.

"We must file a protest for the record number one. Number two, we must survey Union Banks a little more closely. Number three, let us talk with our friends the Chinese. We must tell them not to do this anymore," Ramos said in a media interview during the launch of his foundation's 15th anniversary commemorative book.

Ramos is the chairman of the Ramos Peace and Development Foundation, Inc. which launched the book, "Our Continuing Voyage for Enduring Peace & Sustainable Development" written by book author and multimedia producer Melandrew T. Velasco.

Ramos said there is an agreement between President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping not to issue provocative statements or take provocative actions in the West Philippine Sea in view of the Philippines' hosting of the ASEAN Summit. 

DIPLOMACY WITH CHINA

He also dismissed the recent incident involving the Chinese military and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana's team that visited Pag-asa island. 

The Chinese military radioed the plane carrying Lorenzana's and other Philippine military officials, telling them to stay away from the area.

"Do not forget that the Chinese are experts in diplomacy but also double speaking. It is not the counterpart of Secretary Lorenzana or the defense minister of China speaking but a minor junior spokesman. That's the way they are, that's what we call...deniability," he said.

He added, "tini-testing lang tayo, kaya ignore it."