Cayetano hits back at Aquino: Answer questions on West PH Sea issue


Posted at Aug 06 2018 06:49 PM

MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday addressed former President Benigno Aquino III anew, asking him to enlighten the Filipinos on the events that led to the situation in the West Philippine Sea.

In a second open letter to the former president, Cayetano listed down his questions for Aquino as he asks him to "enlighten the nation by sharing the events and your decisions, particularly those that led to the extremely complex situation in the West Philippine Sea that we are faced with today."

"I appeal to your deep sense of patriotism and request that you just please answer the questions I posed a few days ago instead of trivializing the issue. Merely unleashing your attack dog, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, or asking the public to just Google are not helping the situation for our people and our government," he wrote.

"You know very well the questions I asked cannot be answered by a simple Google search alone," Cayetano added.

According to Cayetano, merely looking for answers online led to more questions, and "far more serious problems that emanated from an unclear chain of command, serious miscalculations, and the absence of an end game for the country."

"Sir, you asked for transparency yet you refuse to be transparent. This is not about our present playbook but yours. Your playbook is something already known to the Chinese government and yet you refuse to share this and other facts with our people who knew nothing about it," he said.

Aquino last week said Cayetano should be as "transparent as his hairstyle" when it comes to dealings with China, including plans for a possible joint oil exploration. 

In his first open letter, Cayetano accused Aquino of "playing with words" rather than explaining how his administration lost control of the disputed Scarborough Shoal to China in 2012 and why Trillanes was ordered to conduct backchannel talks with Beijing.

On Sunday, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV branded Cayetano as a "political snake" over the latter's word war against Aquino.

According to Trillanes, Cayetano was still a "loyal ally of the Aquino administration" when the Scarborough standoff occurred and did not oppose the government's actions. 

"Sec. Cayetano has proven to be a political snake. The Panatag standoff happened in 2012 during which time Cayetano was still a loyal ally of the Aquino administration, so obviously, he never saw anything wrong with how PNoy resolved it then," Trillanes said in a statement.

Cayetano refuted Trillanes' claim, adding he was neither a close ally nor enemy of Aquino.

"Senator Trillanes is again trying to confuse our people. I was neither your close ally nor your enemy. I was the Minority Leader, not a member of the majority at the height of the controversy on the West Philippine Sea," he wrote.