MANILA, Philippines — Chinese officials pushing for Beijing’s claims on the West Philippine Sea believe the Philippines is still a “factotum” of the United States.
This is what lawyer Harry Roque, among the petitioners questioning the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), noted before the Supreme Court during the oral arguments on Tuesday.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio quizzed Roque on what he would advise President Benigno Aquino III if China attacks a Philippine-claimed territory, giving him four options:
“You are now the adviser of the President, what would you advise him?” Carpio asked Roque.
1. To increase our defense spending from 1 percent to 3 percent of GDP, which is ASEAN average. We have the weakest Navy, practically non-existent.
2. Enter into alliances with Japan and India just like what Vietnam did, or Australia.
3. Strengthen our relationship with our sole treaty partner, the US.
4. Sue China before the [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea] or before any other [international] body.