Nene Pimentel: Nothing wrong with allowing Chinese to fish in PH EEZ
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. said he saw nothing wrong with the recent pronouncement of President Duterte that he would allow Chinese vessels to fish within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the contested West Philippine Sea.
“What’s important is that our right of sovereignty over this area is not given up,” Pimentel, also Duterte’s party mate, told reporters when he visited the city to administer the oath of office of local officials here.
Pimentel, who also inspected the convention center project he initiated here on Sunday, June 30, said Duterte’s warming up to China is a practical move and a departure from the country’s previous relationship with other superpowers such as the United States.
“The way I look at it, Duterte is just trying to be practical in the sense that for a long time China was considered an enemy,” said Pimentel, the founder of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the ruling political party chaired by Duterte.
“We have friendly relations only with the US and other democratic countries but not with China,” he said.
Pimentel said it would still be acceptable to expand the friendship to China, Russia, and other authoritarian nations as long as “we don’t allow the culture and tradition of these foreign countries which are authoritarian in nature, to penetrate our own democratic regime,” he said.
But the former lawmaker said he “totally disagreed” with the President for belittling the Constitution.
“The Constitution is an expression in black and white about the rights and liberties that are guaranteed (for the people). Every person shall have the right to liberty, property and due process of law. That’s what the Constitution says, therefore, what is in the Constitution is very important to the Filipinos,” Pimentel said.
H was referring to what the President said in one of his speeches that if he showed (the piece of paper which is the Philippine Constitution) to the Chinese, he would only be told to use it as toilet paper. “I totally disagree with that,” Pimentel said.
“I give him that right to speak out his mind. It’s better that we know what is in the recesses of his mind than (for him to keep) it to himself and all of a sudden, the unexpected happened. It’s better that we are prepared if indeed it’s true,” Pimentel said. (Editor: Leti Z. Boniol)
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