As far as Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is concerned, his ongoing word war with fellow senator Juan Ponce Enrile should not be about China.
“This was about my fight for the people of CamSur but JPE was willing to bring us all down in his fight for his ego.”
This is what the senator told lawyer Romel Bagares in a Facebook message, excerpts of which follow below. Bagares tagged Trillanes in a series of Facebook posts criticizing the lawmaker for his role as a back-channel negotiator in the country’s row with China over Panatag Shoal.
Bagares called Trillanes’ participation in the backdoor talks with China a “major disaster” and an “epic fail” in the social networking site.
In his response, Trillanes reiterated what he said in earlier interviews with various news organizations:
One, the Brady notes as read by Enrile in the Senate floor should not be considered authentic until the Department of Foreign Affairs issues a statement verifying its authenticity;
Two, his role in the talks should not be judged based on Enrile’s claims;
Three, President Aquino was “calling the shots” the whole time;
Four, he has helped eased the tension with the Chinese without compromising the country’s position.
Read Bagares’ Facebook posts and Trillanes’ message below:
From the perspective of a student of international law, I’d like to know what Senator Sonny Trillanes exactly told the Chinese about Scarborough Shoal, so much so that the latter stood down; from snippets of a radio interview I just heard him give, on the Chinese insistence that the Philippines prohibit Filipino fishermen from fishing at the shoal because it belongs to them, he claimed to have replied: “I’m sorry but we cannot prevent them from doing that. We have no capability to enforce a ban.” WHATTTT?????? he’s practically said “yes, it belongs to you but we can’t stop our Filipino fishermen from going to the shoal to fish.” I hope he realizes that under international law, we’re bound by his representations to the Chinese about the Philippine position on the shoal. And I hope I didn’t hear him right about that radio interview.
September 19 (second post)
Tingnan mo tong mga bata ni P-NOY, nanlaglag na! Pero hindi nila nakikita ang matinding dagok na idinulot ni Trillanes sa ating pag-aari ng Scarborough Shoal. Mantakin mong sabihin ni Trillanes sa mga Tsino na walang pakialam ang mga pinoys sa Scarborough? Lumikha si P-NOY ng malaking problema at pagkatapos ay sinabi ng mga bata niyang wala silang kinalaman sa ginawa ni Trillanes. “Minor success” ang tawag ni Lacierda sa nagawa ni Trillanes. On the contrary, it was a major disaster.
Hello, you send him as your back channel negotiator and then say this? You just don’t know what the implications are of his representations to the Chinese on our claims to Scarborough Shoal under international law. This is more than epic fail. Hay Senator Sonny Trillanes what have you done?
It’s not everyday that one receives a Facebook message from a Senator of the realm. Today, I just did, from the good senator Sonny Trillanes, responding to my criticisms of his role as “back channel negotiator” for the Philippine government in talks with the Chinese over the Bajo de Masinloc. How gracious he could be!
This was Senator Trillanes’ personal response to my criticisms of his conduct as a back channel negotiator(this was from a series of exchanges on facebook, edited to contain only the relevant passages):
“Hello Romel, Peace! I read your posts and here’s my response.
First, don’t assume right away that the so-called Brady notes are authentic. So far, it is only jpe who’s reading from it and interpreting it. Did the DFA certify it as authentic? Now, on the assumption that it is authentic, why can’t jpe make it public in the same way that he read it in the senate.
This way the whole country would be able to know, in full context, what I actually said to amb Brady during our one on one mtg ( there were no Chinese present, by the way). My role as a back channel negotiator can’t and shouldn’t be judged based on what jpe says.
As to what you cited during one of my interviews, the context there was, a temporary mutual fishing ban was in effect while we were negotiating and the Chinese were complaining that our fishermen are still in the shoal while theirs were not .
This is but an example of how things can be taken out of context. So, just be assured that I didn’t sell out our country and that everything was in line with pnoy’s foreign policy position and that he was calling the shots all the time. The most important thing is, we have eased the tensions; our interests are secured ; and we didnt cede anything.
…. if I gave away panatag, why did the Chinese leave? My mission was to defuse the tension without compromising our claim. I believe we’ve accomplished it. Of course, the dispute remains and it will remain unresolved for the next 100 years. Anyway, this was about my fight for the people of camsur but jpe was willing to bring us all down in his fight for his ego. I’m willing to suffer politically as long as I know that I’ve faithfully served my country.”
UPDATE 9/24/12: Trillanes commented on Bagares’ September 23 post, see below.