ITLOS

METRO PHILIPPINES
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'We have been saying we want the West Philippine Sea dispute brought to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). What are we waiting for?'

STUNG by criticism that President Noynoy Aquino wasn't doing enough to hasten the trial of those demonic suspects behind the horrendous Maguindanao massacre, Malacañang now says it wants TV coverage of the trial, earlier denied by the Supreme Court.

That is not enough!

Noynoy should display the same zeal and single-mindedness with which he dealt with the prosecution of former chief justice Renato Corona. Otherwise the heinous crime allegedly perpetrated by the Ampatuans will go down in history as one of Noynoy's failures, in the same way that the beloved Cory failed to uncover the real culprits in the assassination of her husband and Noynoy's father, Ninoy.

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STOP crying "Uncle (Sam)", pleeaasse!

First, it was Foreign Secretary Albert "Amboy" del Rosario. Now, President Noynoy Aquino himself is doing it!

How disappointing!

If we have to be the mouthpiece of the US on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) dispute, let's at least be like Cambodia. See how much she got from China for doing the latter's bidding on the issue – nearly $4 billion in grants and investments!

And Cambodia does not even have to host Chinese warships and troops to dump their toxic waste on her territory.

"Kung mag-papauto rin lang tayo sa Kano" (if we allow ourselves to be treated like suckers by the US), let's at least make her pay for it.

How many times does it have to be said that the US will never go out on a limb for us on the West Philippine Sea row with China? She has pivoted to these parts not to safeguard our interest in the dispute. No! She came here to protect HER interests. She will not interfere in our territorial dispute with China. She has already said often enough she is neutral, remember?

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Together with the US (which has not even ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea), we keep saying we want the dispute to be internationalized, meaning bring it to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). What are we waiting for? Are we really serious about it? Don't tell me we are waiting for China to agree to it. That would be foolish. She will never agree to do that. She knows she has no leg to stand on legally. Are we waiting for the US' go-signal? What?!

Or, are we waiting for the other Asean claimants to join us? What if they see what we seem to refuse to see and say it would be an exercise in futility? What then?

People are beginning to suspect we aren't really convinced we could or should go to ITLOS. Noynoy himself once expressed apprehension on making the move. He said legal experts advised him that there's a fifty percent chance we could lose. But of course!

Mr. President, please make up your mind... lest we become the laughing stock of friends and foes alike.

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The much touted Asean consensus on asking China to sit down with the Association as soon as possible to craft a legally-binding Code of Conduct on the WPS may actually not mean very much. As a matter of fact, China has on previous occasions already agreed to do that, but only when she deems the time is right. In other words, "idi-dribble lang nila 'yan" (she will just keep delaying it) until kingdom come.

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Last Saturday, Del Rosario echoed before Philippine Military Academy cadets Noynoy's position on the WPS issue – that "it is the inherent right of a sovereign state to defend its national interest when deemed necessary."

He added: "We have a clear mandate from our President. What is ours is ours and we should stand up to protect what is ours. This mandate is not a matter of choice on the part of our government but is dictated as an obligation by our Constitution which the President has sworn to uphold."

I ask: "What is Noynoy doing to uphold that constitutional obligation of his in concrete terms?" Nothing really.

There is one way to do that though. Send back our ships to Panatag Shoal which China now occupies. International law says Panatag Shoal is ours.

Our navy and coast guard say they are ready to go back as soon as Noynoy gives the word. In other words, they are ready to make the supreme sacrifice in defense of what is ours. So why hasn't Noynoy given the word? The weather in the area has long cleared.

Sure, we are no match to China militarily. And we can safely assume we will not be in the foreseeable future. What do we do in the meantime to uphold our sovereignty over Panatag?

I say let's send our ships back and see what China will do. If she fires upon our vessels, then we will find out what the US will do.

If the US doesn't come to our aid, then it would be time to re-assess our position and adopt a more realistic approach to the issue by talking with China directly. Forget about the position of others. Just think of ways that would promote our interest. Talking with China does not mean we lose at the outset and succumb to her overtures. That would depend on the capability and ingenuity, not to mention the patriotism and nationalism, of our leaders.

In short, let us stop depending on anyone in resolving this problem with China.

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At the risk of being called copycats, let us do what India has done in response to China's move to print on her passports the Chinese map that includes the entire South China Sea. New Delhi printed on the visa issued to Chinese nationals the map of India that includes the disputed territory in her northern border with China.

I believe China's move is not consistent with her avowed desire to resolve the WPS dispute peacefully and diplomatically. It smacks of an unnecessary provocation that does not contribute to a peaceful solution to the problem.

I guess having achieved the status of a big power, China has now begun to lean on the truism that might is right.

Noynoy and his foreign secretary, on the other hand, have been saying we should try to convince others that right is might. How? Without might, no one can convince China of what is right, unless it will serve her interests.

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The richest member of Noynoy's cabinet is also the highest paid government employee, according to the Commission on Audit. DFA's Del Rosario received a total compensation of P2.936 million last year. That's probably loose change for him.

At about this time last year, insiders say that Del Rosario gave away his salary to DFA employees with each getting P400. Many are wondering if he will play Santa Claus again this Christmas?

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Reminders (for Noynoy's action):

1) Filing of charges against officials of the National Food Administration (NFA) during Arroyo's illegitimate regime. Noynoy himself said on several occasions that there is documentary evidence to prove the venalities in the past in that agency.

2) Investigation of reported anomalies in the GSIS during the watch of Winston Garcia.

3) Facilitating the investigation of rampant corruption in the military and police establishments.

4) Expeditious action by the AFP on the case of Jonas Burgos.

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Today is the 205th day of the sixth year of Jonas Burgos' disappearance.

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Again, why is Noynoy taking so long to act on the bill passed by Congress on enforced disappearances?

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From an internet friend:

Three old guys are out walking.

First one says, "Windy, isn't it?"

Second one says, "No, it's Thursday!"

Third one says, "So am I. Let's go get a beer."

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Email: roacrosshairs@yahoo.com