Minority senators seek probe of Chinese military planes’ ‘technical stops’ in Davao
The Senate minority bloc has called for an inquiry into the successive “technical stops” of Chinese military aircraft at the Davao City International Airport to establish whether the incidents have violated the constitutional prohibition of the presence of foreign troops in the country.
The minority group, composed of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Leila de Lima, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, and Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, filed their resolution on Monday.
“The successive occurrence of Chinese military planes making technical stops in Davao City raises the question of whether the Constitution’s proscription against the presence of foreign troops in the country is being violated by the Duterte administration,” the senators said in Senate Resolution No. 779.
They pointed out in the resolution that the Philippines has no existing treaty with China on the use of Philippine facilities by any Chinese military aircraft.
“The circumstances of the Chinese military aircraft landing in Davao is giving rise to speculations that the use by the Chinese military of Davao City’s airport facilities is a personal favor granted by the President to China,” the senators added.
The resolution cited in particular the June 8 and June 24 landing of Chinese military plane at the Davao International Airport supposedly for refueling.
Malacanang officials claimed that requests to use the Davao airport were “received, processed and cleared by the concerned Philippine government agencies.”
Despite this explanation, the minority senators are still pressing for a Senate probe, citing China’s aggressive island-building and militarization in the West Philippine Sea as well as “domination and control over Scarborough Shoal.”
“There is a need to clarify the role of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in approving, monitoring, and overseeing the transit, passage, presence, and use of the Philippine facilities by foreign military aircraft,” they said.
The senators said they also wanted to find out whether the approval or acquiescence of the President alone to the presence of foreign military aircraft, troops or naval vessels within the Philippine territory was enough to allow their presence.— Daphnie Beltran/ INQUIRER.net Intern /ee