For Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP-NPA) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison, the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation on oil and gas development between the Philippines and China is a “clear act of treason” on the part of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“The signing and approval of the Memorandum under the direction of Duterte is a clear act of treason, a blatant betrayal of the sovereign rights and national patrimony of the Philippines and the Filipino people,” Sison said in a statement issued on Saturday.
“While it is still arguable that the Memorandum is still merely an ‘agreement to agree,’ the Philippines and the Filipino people must effectively reject the Memorandum,” he added.
According to Sison, the memorandum, which was signed during the state-visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the country last week, only sets aside the Philippines’ victory against China in its arbitration case on the West Philippine Sea.
The documents also “puts China at par” with the Philippines, despite the latter’s indisputable sovereign rights and sole ownership of and authority over the resources in the West Philippine Sea, he added.
Because of the memorandum, China can easily say the Philippine government has “waste-basketed” the final ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration saying that the mineral and marine resources in the West Philippines Sea belong to the country.
Sison said that it is only proper that the Philippines and Filipino people should act to nullify the memorandum.
“Otherwise the traitor Duterte and his subalterns will commit more crimes of treason under the rule of confidentiality agreed upon in the Memorandum,” he said.
“This is a confidentiality serving the traitors and thieves at the expense of the Filipino people who are kept in the dark and subjected to surprises by fait accompli,” he added.
Senator Panfilo Lacson on Sunday reminded the public to wait for the release of the documents and agreements signed between the Philippines and China before making any conclusion as regards the two country’s dealings, especially on the West Philippine Sea issue.
“Hindi pa natin nakikita ‘yung nilalaman, may conclusion na agad tayo na dehado ang Pilipinas, nadaya, pinamigay. Anong basehan? Basahin muna natin kung ano ‘yung pinirmahan ng mga department heads, ng mga Cabinet secretaries,” Lacson said.
Senators vowed to scrutinize the joint maritime oil and gas exploration deal with China even if they hold differing views on how the agreement would effect the country.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Thursday said there is no agreement for the Philippines and China to start joint exploration in the South China Sea, saying the pact signed during the state visit of Chinese leader Xi merely seeks to study and discuss the prospects of a possible energy cooperation between the two countries.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi also said on Thursday the MOU is a mere joint consensus on cooperation in finding ways to explore resources in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Thursday said the Philippines can set aside the MOU if found not beneficial to the country.