De Lima demands ‘extreme scrutiny’ of PH-China deals
Detained Senator Leila de Lima demanded not only “full transparency” but “extreme scrutiny” of all the 29 deals recently entered into between the Philippines and China.
A Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development was reportedly among the agreements that the two nations signed during the first day of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the Philippines on Tuesday.
The Chinese leader will conclude his two-day visit this Wednesday.
De Lima said there was a need to make all of the signed agreements public “to ensure that the best interest of the country and the people remains paramount.”
“Considering that the interests of China are totally opposed to ours, especially in respect to the West Philippine Sea issue, the government should always follow the principles of transparency and accountability which require that the terms of any deals or loan agreement be subjected for extreme scrutiny to protect our country’s economy and national security,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Alarmingly, Malacañang has not given the Filipino public complete details about its Memorandum of Understanding with China aside from the number of deals signed and its title,” she added.
The senator noted that President Rodrigo Duterte’s “inclination” to favor Chinese nationals has since “posed serious concerns about his loyalty to serve the country and the Filipino people.”
“As I’ve said before, Duterte’s lack of transparency on his dealings with his Chinese masters raises questions whether or not his loyalty belongs to China or the Philippines,” De Lima said.
“We need to scrutinize if the President’s action vis-à-vis China really have a positive impact on the socio-economic development of the Philippines.”
Since last year, de Lima has been filing several resolutions seeking a Senate probe into various loans and investment deals that the Duterte administration had entered into with China.
The senator, who is detained while facing illegal drugs charges, chairs the Senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development. /cbb