Tell it to SunStar: Duterte’s deafening silence

A TRAWLER believed to be manned by Chinese militiamen intentionally hit the Philippine fishing boat Gem-Vir 1 and sank it at Recto Bank at the West Philippine sea on the night of June 9.

After the Gem-Vir 1 sank, the Filipino fishermen struggled for hours to stay afloat in the dark until a Vietnamese fishing vessel rescued them.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said the Philippine should send a strong signal to China that a repeat of the ramming of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel in the South China Sea could lead to a break of diplomatic ties.

Senators Risa Hontiveros, Richard Gordon, Francis Pangilinan, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Panfilo Lacson denounced the insults and lies offered by the Chinese government to avoid condemnation over the incident.

Netizens, the media, civic and student groups, and all decent Filipinos who care for their country’s sovereignty and national dignity joined the popular condemnation against the Chinese crew’s deplorable act in intentionally ramming the Filipino fishing boat and abandoning their victims to the elements in blatant violation of international maritime agreements.

More than a week after the incident, the usually pugnacious and cursing President of a supposedly sovereign Republic has kept a deafening silence on the matter.

Duterte’s inaction is clearly surprising because whenever there is an affront against him or against the government, this will provoke him to curse the offender with unprintable and uncivilized words.

Duterte lashed out at the Canadian government and even threatened to sever diplomatic relations with Canada on a matter which did not involve national sovereignty and national honor but on the disposal of garbage.

When the UN Human Rights groups politely reminded the President on his responsibility to observe international covenants for the protection of human rights in the light of his bloody war on drugs, he cursed them and gave a lecture on “national sovereignty.”

When Caloocan City Bishop Virgilio David reminded the government that extra-judicial killings violate God’s commandment and the rule of law, the President called the good bishop “the son of a bitch.”

Yet, when the Chinese naval personnel reportedly disguised as fishermen intentionally rammed the Filipinos’ fishing vessel last June 9 and abandoned their drowning victims in clear violation of Philippine sovereignty, President Duterte has kept a deafening silence obviously avoiding to offend China.

What has happened to our brave President? (By Atty. Democrito Barcenas)


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