Manila, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila De Lima is accusing President Rodrigo Duterte of being a puppet of China and is claiming that Malacañang Palace is the Asian superpower’s headquarters in the Philippines.
In a statement on Monday, De Lima said people should no longer wonder why there was a break in protocol during Chinese President Xi Jingping’s two-day state visit from November 20 and 21.
“Our Presidential Palace is now the headquarters of China’s fifth column in the Philippines. It is no longer a Filipino President that holds office there, but a Chinese puppet,” the opposition senator said.
“We should no longer wonder why the Chinese flag flew high and mighty on that fateful day in Malacañang,” she added.
When Xi arrived in Malacañang, the honor guard marching behind the two state leaders was seen carrying the Chinese flag, and not the seal of the Philippine President — contrary to tradition.
Netizens also noticed that the positions of the Chinese flag and the Philippine flag were reversed. The Chinese flag was placed to the right of the Philippine flag, in contrast to previous state visits.
Some people saw it a sign of the country’s subservience to China, while others think that is merely a show of the current administration’s penchant to break traditions.
However, De Lima believes that the incident has a lot of meaning behind it.
“The break in protocol during the Malacañang honor guard ceremony for Chinese President Xi Jinping is very symbolic of the purpose of his State visit. The purpose was to cement the Philippines’ inclusion into China’s sphere of influence, if not domination,” De Lima explained.
“The Chinese President, more than just another visiting head of state, came and was welcomed as a victorious conqueror. To symbolize this nature of the visit, Malacañang allowed the Chinese flag to be displayed exclusively during the honor guard ceremony, without the Philippine presidential standard flag, and with Duterte following meekly behind the Chinese President,” she added.
The senator, who is writing from her detention cell inside the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, said that the country could not stand an invasion from within, especially if its own President was selling its lands.
De Lima is detained while facing drug charges for allegedly conniving with convicts to traffic drugs, particularly shabu.
“Indeed, a nation can fight and resist invaders. But when its own President and public officials decide to sell the country for thirty pieces of silver, the betrayal is almost irreversible,” she noted.
“The invader no longer needs to land its troops on our soil, when our own leaders are themselves the agents of the conqueror in our midst,” she said.
During Xi’s visit, a total of 29 memoranda of understanding (MOU) were signed between the two countries. Some of the MOUs included a contract on a joint oil and gas development, basic education, communication technology.
Malacañang has not released details on the issue, although some speculate that the location of the joint oil venture would be in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“We do not need China to give us money. The only thing that China has to do is to get out and stay out of the West Philippine Sea. A country that steals our territory cannot possibly do anything better than to stop stealing from us, and not by pretending to help us by bribing the traitors among us,” De Lima said.
The Philippines lost control of Scarborough Shoal in the WPS to the Chinese during the previous administration when De Lima was Justice secretary.
Different Asian countries have placed their claims on WPS, but it is China which claims a huge part of it, through the so-called nine-dash line. According to China, every landmass and body of water inside their nine-dash line is a part of their territory.
The previous administration has filed a case against China, before the United Nations International Arbitration Tribunal in 2013. Three years after, in 2016, the Tribunal said that the nine-dash line was invalid.
The lady senator underscored that despite the ruling, China still bullies local fishermen in the western seaboards of the country, especially those near WPS.
“All the while, China continues to undermine the Philippines’ internationally-recognized EEZ in the West Philippine Sea, and now acts as the owner of resources our country is entitled to as the exclusive beneficiary under the UNCLOS, as upheld in the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration,” she said.
“This is a critical stage in our nation’s history. The context of allowing China to play, not even a dominant, but a dominating role in our national development, which China envisions to be its permanent presence in the lives of Filipinos, bears all the hallmarks of a traitorous sell-out of our sovereignty and national patrimony by the ruling regime,” she added.