Former President Benigno Aquino III had this to say when asked about the Duterte administration’s preference for China:
“China can be a really fantastic friend. Isa lang naman requirement. Pag may sinabi sila, ‘Yes sir’ (There is only one requirement. When they ask you, you answer ‘Yes sir!’)
The audience at a democracy forum at the Ateneo Professional Schools in Makati on Tuesday laughed at his statement and the former president still had something to say.
Aquino said the Northrail project was an “onerous agreement.”
“Ang daming provisions na malabo…pag nagkaroon ng dispute, Chinese court,” he said, recalling one of the questionable provisions.
He said it meant having to deal with Chinese courts, which only had 100,000 lawyers for 1.4 billion people in China.
He also said there were no specifications for the trains.
“During my time we asked them, ‘We think this is an onerous agreement, we would like to renegotiate.’ Sabi nila, ‘Okay you set up your negotiating panel,’” Aquino said.
In the end, Beijing did not put forward a negotiating team and instead demanded that they be paid by the Philippine government, he added.
He said the only thing the Philippines got from the deal are expensive concrete columns in Malolos that were never used.
“Okay ang team natin, nabayaran. After that matuto na tayo,” he said.