Pangilinan asks PH nominee to UN: How do we deal with China on West Philippine Sea

MANILA — (UPDATE) Noting that over 90 percent of Filipinos want the Philippines to regain control of the West Philippine Sea, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Wednesday questioned the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations nominee, about the national policy toward China.

“With China’s incursion in our Exclusive Economic Zone or our territorial sovereign waters, our people would like to know, what are we going to do with these challenges that we face?” Pangilinan asked Atty. Rodolfo Robles at the Commission on Appointments (CA) hearing.

The powerful CA convened to confirm the appointment of 57 officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs, including Robles, former member of the 1971 Constitutional Convention and Duterte’s consultative committee to review the 1987 Constitution.

Robles’s appointment was signed by the President last July 1, 2019.

“I think what the government is doing, is doing it within its proper resources. We are actually trying to strengthen our military capability… But at the moment, we are actually not able to do anything except (raise) protests one after other saying this is an illegal act of China but at the same time, I’m not aware of what we really can do effectively to stop China from doing these,” said Robles, a native of Tiaong, Quezon.

Suspension of negotiations

Pangilinan, who is the CA Minority Floor Leader, also raised the issue of the suspension of negotiations with countries that signed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution to probe the Philippine government’s war on drugs, noting that even Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana was reported to be seeking an exemption due to its possible effects to national security.

“Are you hoping to extensions to the policy or the suspension? Are you willing to bring this matter up to the President and say perhaps a better approach could be to do this on a case-to-case basis?” Pangilinan said.

In response, Robles said the suspension of negotiations will not affect the country’s relationship with security partners such as Australia. He also said he is willing to take a second look at the matter and raise it to the President if need be.

Robles’s confirmation was put on hold after Senator Risa Hontiveros called for a caucus to discuss his confirmation, where the results will be announced in plenary later today.

Confirmed appointments

Franklin J. Demonteverde Sr., a retired judge and former chairman of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, was confirmed as member of the Judicial and Bar Council representing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

The confirmed 53 DFA officials were:

* 5 to the rank of Chief of Mission Class 1: Joseph Gerard Bacani Angeles, Maria Amelita Cunanan Aquino, Noralyn Jubaira Baja, Junever M. Mahilum-West, and Wilfredo Cunanan Santos;

* 10 to the rank of Chief of Mission Class 2: Deena Joy Dy Amatong, Jaime Ramon Torre Ascalon Jr., Igor Garlit Bailen, Raymond Reyes Balatbat, Maria Agnes Maglasang Cervantes, Alan Lazaro Deniega, Angelica Caraos Escalona, Maria Lourdes Monteagudo Salcedo, Chartlotte Golim Tang, Marian Jocelyn R. Tirol-Ignacio;

* 17 to the rank of Career Ministers: Gerardo Padilla Abiog, Iric Cruz Arribas, Juan Enriquez Dayang Jr., Pete Raymond Villasor Delfin, Noemi Tan Diaz, Ambrosio Brian Fruto Enciso Ill, Sayson Feliciano, Magnolia Maog Fischer, Mark Francis Cura Hamoy, Raphael Sta. Cruz Hermoso, Ana Marie Layugan Hernando, Mary Luck Santos Hicarte, Shirlene Chiu Mananquil, Elena Cristina Delfin Maningat, Angelito Ayong Nayan, Charmaine Serna-Chua, Arnel Gonio Talisayon;

* 20 officials appointed to the rank of Foreign Service Officer Class 1: Azela G. Arumpac-Marte, Vanessa G. Bago-Llona, Bryan Jess Tio Baguio, Fernando Vidal Beup Jr., Alena Grace Santiago Borra, Maria Roseny Baltazar Fangco, Ferdinand Pantas Flores, Lyndon Belencion Garcia, Maria Angelica Capili Genotiva, Rona Beth Garing Goce, Dominic Xavier Marquez Imperial, Charles Andrei Pineda Macaspac, Maria Sheila U. Monedero-Arnesto, Jarie Ramirez Osias, Cuadra Pondoc, Gilbert Lleva Segarra, Zoilo Atencio Velasco, Estrada Villanueva Jr., Bolivar Laudet Bao, and Mary Joy Ballecer Ramirez

* 1 officer appointed to the rank of Foreign Service Officer Class 4: Jean Yasin Robles