President Rodrigo Duterte thanked former President Benigno Aquino III for filing an arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte talked about thanking Aquino for The Hague ruling favoring the Philippines at the National Security Council (NSC) meeting when he spoke with the soldiers at Camp Guillermo Nakar in Lucena City, Quezon on July 28.
“Si President Aquino, he won for us the case kaya ako nagsabi, ‘Maraming salamat po for giving us the ace card.’ It was he who filed, it was upon his instruction,” Duterte narrated.
Aquino will have his place in history as the Philippine president who initiated filing a case against superpower China and won it.
Duterte also talked about the NSC meeting with four former Presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Aquino on July 27 at Malacañang. He relayed how Arroyo advised him to practice ‘caution’ and how Estrada said ‘restraint’ over handling the West Philippine Sea row.
The President talked about how he plans to handle the dispute, especially when the soldiers’ lives are involved.
“During my watch, medyo dahan-dahan lang ako. Pag daanan mo sa init ng ulo, patay na. Your life is not something I can just throw away,” Duterte said.
Former President Ramos has accepted Duterte’s offer as special envoy to China after he was cleared by his doctors.
Duterte said that he would leave the dealing with China to Ramos.
“Let Ramos navigate… maybe when the final talks are there, tapos kaharap na kami then that will be the time na mag-prangkahan tayo. This is our position. This is what we have, we will not go out of it. We talk,” he said.
Aside from Duterte thanking Aquino, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III also filed a resolution to credit Aquino and other key government officials for the tribunal win over China.
You can watch the video of Duterte’s talk with the soldiers at Camp Nakar here and forward to mark 15:50 to hear him talk about thanking Aquino for The Hague ruling: