‘A complete lie’: Locsin on report that Duterte was apologetic in raising arbitral ruling

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said during the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)’s 2020 budget presentation before the House Committee on Appropriations on September 4 that it is not true that President Rodrigo Duterte was apologetic when he raised the West Philippine Sea arbitral ruling during the bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.    

“The report that the President was apologetic in raising the arbitral award, that’s a total fabrication, in every aspect a complete lie,” Locsin said.

Secretary Locsin added that the President always raised the arbitral ruling every time he visited China.

“By insisting on, the President I admire him for this, on permission. But by China saying, yes we will ask for permission, we are now on the side of China in the revision of UNCLOS which is now asking for permission,” Locsin said. “China has always wanted that. So now we find ourselves on their side.”

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was quoted saying “The President said: ‘I didn’t want to alarm you with what I’m about to raise because of your problem in Hong Kong, which is why I’m asking for forgiveness, but I need to say this because I promised my countrymen.’”

“President Xi said: ‘I understand and I am OK with it,’” Panelo added.

In a press statement, Secretary Panelo said “President Duterte was also steadfast in raising with President Xi concerns central to the Philippines’ claim in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), which include the ruling held by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. He said that the arbitral award is final, binding and not subject to appeal.”

“In response, President Xi reiterated his government’s position of not recognising the arbitral ruling as well as not budging from its position,” Panelo added.