Duterte destabilizing himself, Trillanes says, after president boasts of China protection
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) - May 16, 2018 - 12:54pm

MANILA, Philippines — In response to President Rodrigo Duterte's remarks that China would not allow him to be ousted, Sen. Antonio Trillanes reminded the president that no one is trying to kick him out.

"No one is trying to kick him out; he is doing the destabilizing all by himself," Trillanes said in a statement released Wednesday.

Trillanes also expressed disbelief over Duterte's claims that China would protect the Philippines in case a conflict broke out in the region.

RELATED: Duterte: China has assured me it will not allow Philippines to be destroyed

Duterte made the statement on Tuesday during the sendoff ceremony for the Filipino scientists who would conduct a research in Benham or Philippine Rise.

"The assurances of [President] Xi Jinping were very encouraging. Eh, they are there. 'We will not allow you to be taken out from your office, and we will not allow the Philippines to go to the dogs,'" Duterte said, quoting Xi.

The president also said that his Chinese counterpart assured him that Beijing would support Manila in case a conflict broke out in the region.

"China will never allow the Philippines to be destroyed. 'We will be there if you need us,'" Duterte said.

Trillanes said that he does not believe Beijing would say this as "they know that they don't have the power to stop any leadership change from happening."

"But, more importantly, Duterte's statement betrays his paranoia about the state of affairs in his own country," the senator added.

Aside from sending off an all-Filipino team to Philippine Rise, Duterte also led the commemoration of the first anniversary of the renaming of the underwater plateau.

In his speech, Duterte also insisted that the Philippines has not given up its sovereignty rights over certain areas in the West Philippine Sea.

RELATED: Jet ski cruise through Philippine Rise moves closer to shore

Duterte's son Sebastian and special assistant Bong Go rode a jet ski through the waters of Casiguran Bay in Aurora in an attempt to assert the country's claim over Philippine Rise. Casiguran Bay is only the jumpoff point to Philippine Rise but is still far away from the undersea region itself.

Benham or Philippine Rise, located in the eastern seaboard, is also uncontested contrary to the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea, where Beijing has installed missile systems and military facilities.

ANTONIO TRILLANES IV BENHAM RISE PHILIPPINE RISE PHILIPPINES-CHINA RELATIONS RODRIGO DUTERTE SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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