Ex-admin execs asked on absence in gentleman’s deal probe

Solons question past admin execs’ absence in ‘gentleman’s deal’ probe

/ 03:21 PM May 20, 2024

IN SESSION / MARCH 21, 2023 Members of the House of Representatives get down in the business of crafting laws during a session on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, as the deadline for their colleague Representative Arnie Teves to report to work lapses on Monday. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

House of Representatives (File photo from INQUIRER  / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — Two panels in the House of Representatives investigating the alleged gentleman’s agreement between former President Rodrigo Duterte and China on Ayungin Shoal have ordered past administration officials to explain why they failed to attend the hearing.

They made the directive during the hearing on Monday.


Antipolo 2nd District Rep. Romeo Acop reminded the House Committee on National Defense and Security and the Committee on the West Philippine Sea that under the House protocol, the next step in addressing resource persons’ absence was to issue a show-cause order against them.


Acop said this after the committee on national defense vice chairperson and Iloilo 5th District Rep. Raul Tupas confirmed that they had invited former Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, former Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon.

Only Medialdea sent a representative.

“Only one is represented right now by a representative in the person of Atty. Caringal, representing ES Medialdea,” Tupas told Acop.

“The other one provided an explanation through another channel and the other one we have yet to hear from him,” he noted.

“Our protocol states that if the explanation is not acceptable to the chairman or the members of the committee, or they have not offered any excuses for their absence, the next part of the protocol is that we issue a show-cause order,” Acop said.

“Did we do that, Mr. Chair?” he asked.


“Not yet, Honorable Acop,” Tupas replied, after which the hearing was suspended for lawmakers to discuss the issue.

READ: Ex-president Duterte, China confirm pact not to repair PH outpost 

When the committee resumed its hearing, Acop reiterated his call for a show-cause order on the absent resource persons.

“Mr. Chair, in the spirit of consistency of following our protocols, may I move that those who were invited and did not come here and […] provided no valid excuse, be issued a show-cause order to explain their absence in today’s hearing? So moved, Mr. Chair,” Acop said.

READ: Gentleman’s agreement: Castro wants to get info straight from Duterte 

The two House panels started their probe on Monday, in response to House Resolution No. 1684 and the privilege speech delivered by 1-Rider Party-list Rep. Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez on the Chinese embassy’s alleged interference with local politics.

READ: House probe of Duterte-China ‘gentleman’s agreement’ begins 

Talks about the gentleman’s agreement first came out after Duterte’s former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed to reporters last March 27 that Duterte and China had a deal to maintain the current situation in the disputed region.

Roque mentioned this when asked why China has been so aggressive when Philippine vessels are trying to conduct resupply missions to troops stationed in BRP Sierra Madre, a Navy ship deliberately ran aground Ayungin Shoal.

READ: Ex-President Duterte, China had deal to keep WPS status quo – Roque 

The former spokesperson surmised that China may have been acting this way because the Philippines is no longer maintaining the agreement.

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But he himself admitted that the deal was non-binding and cannot apply under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s term.

TAGS: China, WPS

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