BY REY O. ARCILLA
‘Asian nations must find a way to resolve their own conflict because the US can’t always come charging in to help. – Panetta’
IF tennis star Roger Federer merited an audience and lunch with Queen Elizabeth of England, why not Benigno Simeon Aquino III, otherwise known as Noynoy Aquino, President of the Republic of the Philippines? He is both head of state and government.
Noynoy should by now be in London for an official visit. Aside from meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron, he will also have an audience with Prince Andrew who is remotely in line to the English throne.
News reports also say Queen Elizabeth will be hosting a luncheon for Noynoy, but it will be presided by the Mayor of London, David Wootton.
As a Filipino, I find both arrangements insulting. I would understand if it was a question of conflict of schedule due to the celebration of the Queen’s 60th year of ascension to the throne. But our head of state does not even rate an audience and a lunch hosted by the heir to the throne Prince Charles?
To begin with, why was the visit timed to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen’s ascension to the throne? Surely, it could not be because Noynoy wanted to witness at the same time the festivities lined up by the Brits for the occasion.
Noynoy and his minions have been trumpeting the visit as a means to lure British investments into the country.
As I have said often enough, attracting foreign investors does not need traveling by the head of state/government. In this day and age of instant communications, the only thing that one needs to do to attract the attention of others is to do well at home. The President’s job is here. Set this house in order first. After that, everything else will fall into place, including attracting droves of foreign investors. Can anything be more explicit than that?
After being treated like a second class ally by the US, Noynoy goes again on a pilgrimage to Washington from London. Whatever for?! Haven’t we had enough of US double talk? We like rubbing salt to our injury?
More importantly, are we serious about settling our problem with China over the West Philippine Sea? Why do we have to keep grating Chinese sensitivities by always running to and begging Uncle Sam for help?
Please, for once, let us show the US and the world that we can fend for ourselves. And we can do it – with grit and determination! And love of country!
This is one time Noynoy had better be able to bring home some bacon that his bosses, the people, can appreciate. Transparency will also be the order of the day when he comes back from Washington.
Incidentally, without their realizing it, Noynoy and his Amboy of a foreign secretary, Albert del Rosario, will be making Ambassador Sonia Brady’s task more difficult and undermine her efforts to achieve a breakthrough in the standoff with China over the Scarborough Shoal issue by continuing to pander to the US. She needs the support of everyone, especially her head of state.
For whatever it may be worth, Sonia certainly has my best wishes.
Whenever the Scarborough Shoal issue comes up, the Philippines and the US never fail to say something about ensuring “freedom of navigation” and “unimpeded lawful commerce and keeping vital sea lanes open” in the West Philippine Sea. The inference is that once she achieves total control of the area, China will do just that – impede lawful commerce and navigation.
Earlier, I said I don’t think that that is really China’s objective. Surely, she must know she is not the only naval power in the region. US, Japan, Korea and Australia are there and they will not stand idly by if China did that. Their interests will be adversely affected. But more significantly, we seem to forget that much of China’s trade and commerce also go through those sea lanes. Two can play the game of “impede”. Clearly, it will not be in China’s interest to resort to that sort of thing.
As I also said earlier, China’s ultimate objective is the oil, gas and other minerals suspected to be beneath those waters.
In this regard, I believe it would do us some good to take serious note of the statement made by US defense secretary Leon Panetta at a security conference in Singapore over the weekend.
He said that China and the US “both understand the differences we have, we both understand the conflicts we have, but we also both understand that there really is no other alternative but for both of us to engage and to improve our communications and to improve our (military) relationship.”
At the same time, Panetta reportedly “warned Asian nations that they must find a way to resolve their own conflict because the U.S. can’t always come charging in to help.”
No, I’m not referring to the convicted Renato Corona… although he may be that too. Neither is it an expression of my own sentiment.
I am referring to Senator Miriam Santiago and what her confreres who voted to convict Corona must be saying about her after she virtually called them “gago”.
Curiously, not one of them reacted to the insult. Could it be she was not so way off the mark in her diatribe? Or were they merely tolerating her, knowing she will no longer be around for long?
Santiago was supposed to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague a month or so ago. She deferred her assumption of duty as a judge in the Court due to the Corona impeachment trial. Now that that is over, we assume she would be joining the Court shortly.
Or is she? Given her propensity to indulge in hysterics, histrionics and hurling insults against those she considers as lesser mortals, and that means everybody, she would surely feel out of place in the ICC milieu.
Whether or not she would be an asset to the Court is no longer relevant. And there is nothing that the government can do to stop her from joining the Court as demanded in an online petition by certain parties. She was elected by the UN General Assembly as a member of the Court in her personal capacity. Ergo, only she can stop herself from going either by resigning or simply by not showing up at The Hague. Frankly, I would not be surprised if she did either given her mercurial character.
“Now, the chief justice of the Republic of the Philippines wishes to be excused.” And then he walked out.
With those words and action, Renato Corona sealed his fate.
Some readers have asked me why I have not written about the Corona case at all. The reason was everybody else had been writing about it, day in and day out. The only time I wrote about the case was on December 20 last year when I said:
“Unless they are blind or stupid, the honorable senators should know that President Noynoy Aquino is on the moral high ground in this issue. They should know that a big majority of the people are behind Noynoy on this. They should know that when Noynoy decided to bring this issue to a head, he had already weighed all the chances of Corona being found guilty. They should also know the vast powers of the presidency at Noynoy’s disposal.
“On the other hand, Noynoy certainly must know that failure to have Corona convicted will so weaken his presidency as to render him practically a lameduck.
“That is why I said Chief Justice ‘for now’ Corona. I think he will be convicted or probably resign. Oh, I also believe the evidence against him is pretty strong, particularly the ones on graft and corruption which has nothing to do with ‘interpretation’ of the law.”
Reminders (for Noynoy’s action):
1) Filing of charges against officials of the National Food Administration during Arroyo’s illegitimate regime. Noynoy himself said on several occasions that there is documentary evidence to prove the venalities in the past in that agency; 2) investigation of reported anomalies in the GSIS during the watch of Winston Garcia; 3) facilitating the investigation of rampant corruption in the military and police establishments; and 4) expeditious action by the AFP on the case of Jonas Burgos.
Today is the 38th day of the sixth year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.