Enrile dares Trillanes to bare 15 meetings with ChinaBy Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Friday accused Sen. Antonio Trillanes of supporting the Chinese position in the search for a solution to the territorial dispute between Manila and Beijing in the West Philippine Sea.
In an interview with ANC anchor Karen Davila, Enrile said Trillanes should disclose what he had discussed with the Chinese in his 15 meetings with them.
“What record are we going to have about his commitments, about his words to utter in his conference? Remember he attended not one but 15 meetings with these people. What were discussed in the meetings?” Enrile said.
“What was said by the Chinese? What did he say to the Chinese? Nobody knows except him. He should reveal this to the people,” he said.
Asked about Ambassador to China Sonia Brady’s notes that said Trillanes pushed for bilateral talks with China, Enrile said: “That is precisely what he was advocating. He is following the Chinese line.”
Enrile said the multilateral approach to the dispute that the Philippine government had adopted in dealing with China was the right strategy.
The Aquino administration has brought the dispute to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and asked the United States for help in dealing with China, which is increasingly aggressive in asserting its claims in the West Philippine Sea.
Enrile also took exception to observations that credit Trillanes for the easing of tensions in the West Philippine Sea.
He said that at the time Trillanes was meeting with the Chinese, the Aquino administration wanted the Commission on Appointments to confirm Brady’s appointment as ambassador to China.
“He assumes that in his mind he has solved the problem but look at this, [Defense Secretary Voltaire] Gazmin said the problem is still there,” Enrile said.
“At the time [Trillanes] was [in] all of these conversations [with the Chinese], the President hurriedly appointed Ambassador Brady … and [asked us] to [hurry and] confirm her nomination [so] that she could go back to Beijing,” he said.
“Now, if indeed Trillanes succeeded … what was the point in the hurry[ing the sending of an] ambassador to deal with that, the problem that was escalating?” Enrile asked.
Enrile said he didn’t know that Trillanes would attack his character on Wednesday in connection with the bill that would divide Camarines Sur into two provinces.
He said he expected Trillanes would deliver a privilege speech on his back-channel talks with his Chinese contacts after it was reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer that day.
Enrile indicated that this was the reason why he was ready with the documents containing Brady’s notes on a meeting with Trillanes.
“I was told that Senator Trillanes made a reservation to deliver a privilege speech and I also knew that Senator Trillanes was unhappy because of my … calling his attention to his trips to China during that Cabinet meeting,” Enrile said.
“[I] already knew at that point he was spreading the story that was going to work to unseat me, but that didn’t matter to me, by the way,” he added.