Remarks of Duterte’s ‘alter egos’ on China incursion in West PH Sea also his – Palace
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang dispelled Monday notions that President Rodrigo Duterte has been silent amid reported persistent invasion of China in the West Philippine Sea, saying the strong statements of his so-called alter egos reflect the Chief Executive’s stance on the issue.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that since Duterte did not renounce the remarks of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. regarding Chinese incursions in Philippine waters, their words are also considered as Duterte’s own.
“Kapag hindi dini-disown ng Presidente ang mga sinasabi ng kanyang mga alter egos, parang siya na ang nagsasalita. Hindi na siya ang kailangan magsalita,” he said in a Palace briefing.
(When the President does not disown the statements of his alter egos, it’s like he is the one already talking. He no longer needs to speak on the matter.)
He cited a Constitutional doctrine that says that “utterances of alter egos are utterances of the President unless the president renounces them.”
“He (Duterte) has not renounced them so those remain official utterances of the highest officialdom of government,” Roque added.
He also noted Duterte’s statement during his UN General Assembly debut in 2020 where he raised the Philippines’ arbitral victory against China over the South China Sea.
Lorenzana and Locsin have been vocal about wanting Chinese vessels to vacate Philippine waters.
The issue started last March 21 when the Philippine Coast Guard reported that about 220 Chinese ships were spotted in line formation near Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef, which is part of the Philippine continental shelf.
The Department of Foreign Affairs filed a diplomatic protest and Lorenzana issued strongly-worded statements as the Chinese ships remained in the area despite repeated demands of the Philippine government that they leave.
On April 3, Lorenzana said that Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian would have “a lot of explaining to do” regarding the ships that remained at the reef.
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