President Rodrigo Duterte hit the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III for not acting on the award of the Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The Tribunal’s ruling favored Philippines’ position regarding the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte said “seven or eight years ago, there were already intelligence reports overflights by so many countries, including ours, that something was afoot there, that they were trying to build ‘yung reclamation.”
He said at that time, because it’s a violation of the International Law of the Seas, UNCLOS, the
only country who could have stopped the Chinese although – was America.
“Hindi ‘yun pwede ‘yung navy natin. It would have resulted in a massacre and I was not the president then,” he said.
“So Aquino filed an arbitration case. We won. He was still there. Bakit hindi niya ginawa kung ‘yan talaga ang gusto ng ‘yan silang mga yellow. Nanalo kayo. Nandiyan pa si Aquino, not so many months there. Bakit hindi niyo pinuntahan at sinita,” Duterte said at the 37th Philippine Principals Training and Development Program and National Board Conference in Davao City on May 4.
“Then when he left, there were already some additional – well, accretion, but artificial. You cannot build an island, artificial island on the high seas. That’s not allowed. And the only country who could have stopped them was America,” he added.
It was during the presidency of Aquino when the West Philippine Sea arbitration was initiated, however, the Tribunal’s ruling was only released July 12, 2016, days after President Duterte assumed presidency.
President Duterte’s remarks was made amid report that China has installed missile systems in Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef, Zamora (Subi) Reef and Panganiban (Mischief) Reef in the Spratly Islands.