By: Artchil B. Fernandez
FINALLY, Du30 broke his silence on the sinking of F/B Gem-Vir 1 by a Chinese vessel. His foul-mouth and acerbic tongue were conspicuously quiet when the incident happened.
The nation was expecting Du30’s dirty mouth will maim China and give that rogue nation a tongue-lashing for leaving twenty-two Filipino fishermen to the mercy of the sea after a brazen hit-and-run in Recto Bank. Instead, what Filipinos got, particularly the fishermen victims, were insulting remarks from Du30.
Describing the incident as “a little maritime accident,” Du30 as much as possible tried to downplay what happened and wanted it forgotten immediately. No bluster or angry statement he usually dishes out against his perceived enemies. On the contrary, Du30 was almost apologetic.
“What happened in the collision is a maritime incident… That is only a collision of ships… Maritime incident is a maritime incident. It is best investigated. I did not issue a statement because there is no investigation and there is no result. Then the only thing we can do is wait and give the other party the right to be heard. That is important.”
Dissecting Du30’s insulting remarks reveals his mindset when it comes to China. His description of the incident as “a little maritime accident” and “a collision of ships” echoes the position of the Chinese Embassy.
Breaking its silence on the incident, the Chinese Embassy issued a statement acknowledging the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat in Recto Bank by a Chinese vessel. In the Chinese version of the incident, a Chinese trawler Yuemaobinyu 42212 accidentally bumped into the Gem-Vir 1. “The Chinese captain tried to rescue the Filipino fishermen, but was afraid of being besieged by seven or eight Filipino fishing boats.”
The Chinese are blatantly lying. Disputing the Chinese version, the Filipino fishermen said they were anchored on Recto Bank, some of them asleep when the Chinese vessel hit them. If the Chinese story is true that there were seven or eight Filipino fishing boats in the vicinity, any one of the boats could have rescued the crew of Gem-Vir 1. Truth is there are no seven or eight Filipino boats in the area and it was a Vietnamese fishing boat who rescued the Filipino fishermen.
“China’s story doesn’t make sense; it is an insult to the intelligence of Filipinos,” Sen. Lacson slammed the Chinese version. “If they have plans of not revealing the whole truth on the matter, they should at least make sure they craft a well-written script.”
Perplexing is Du30’s shameless mimicking of the Chinese line. What is even astounding is Du30 insistence of China’s right to be heard. Du30, acting more like a lawyer for China in this case, is saying before Filipinos condemn China, the Chinese side must first be heard.
China deserves due process according to Du30 but what about the thousands who were slaughtered in his war against illegal drugs? Were their side heard? Did the police bother to get their side of the story before they were killed? Did Du30 bother to hear the side of those whom he accused of being involved illegal drugs trade in his infamous list? Du30 pronounced these Filipinos guilty without due process.
In the sinking of Gem-Vir 1, Du30 was very careful and cautious. It is important according to him to get China’s side before he makes further comments on the incident.
Surrender to a foreign power is how Sen. Lacson described Du30’s lame position on the hit-and-run in Recto Bank. “There is no other way to describe [the President’s] statement except that – surrender. He even parroted the line of China that the case was an ordinary maritime incident, even downgraded it to ‘little.’”
Taking their cue from Du30, other officials of the administration repeated the Chinese line. Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the Chinese sinking of Gem-Vir 1 was “unintentional.” Even Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who earlier issued strong words condemning China back-tracked saying it is important to investigate the incident and get the Chinese side.
The nation is outraged by the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel inside Philippine territory. Instead of being one with the sentiment of Filipinos, Du30 and his administration are trying to pacify Filipinos. Worst, the administration is taking China’s side, even go as far as swallowing the Chinese version of the incident.
What the sinking of Gem-Vir 1 reveals is, Du30 is not just pro-China and anti-Filipino but appears to be a Chinese dummy or puppet. As president, it is his sworn duty to defend the territorial integrity of the Philippines and uphold Filipino interest at all times. A Chinese vessel hit and sunk a Filipino fishing boat inside Philippine territory and what did Du30 do? No fire and brimstone from his dirty mouth holding China accountable for its infringement into Philippine territory and committing criminal act within it but acting as a Chinese apologist. Isn’t this plain and simple treason?
The defeatist and treacherous reaction of Du30 and his administration on the sinking of Gem-Vir 1 will only embolden China to be more aggressive in harassing Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea knowing that the Philippine government will do nothing protect them. Between Filipino interest and Chinese interest, it is clear Du30 and his officials will take the Chinese position. Why the preference of the current administration of the Chinese is the million dollar question Filipinos are asking.
Du30 is slowly transforming the Philippines into a vassal of China. Unless Filipinos make a strong stand on this, one of these days they will wake up under the yoke of a new foreign master.