The right man for the job
FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - July 17, 2016 - 12:00am

I hope President Duterte will ask former President Ramos to start talks with China after the UN Tribunal’s decision. This is a delicate job and the former President is well known for the work he did to create the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), a nongovernmental and nonprofit international organization.

It was proposed in 1998 by the former President of the Philippines, Bob Hawke, former Prime Minister of Australia, and Morihiro Hosokawa, former Prime Minister of Japan, and formally inaugurated on Feb. 27, 2001.

Boao, Hainan Province, China serves as the permanent site of BFA Headquarters. A group of Filipino journalists visited the site of the forum in Hainan just this year. It needs to be reactivated. I remember our guide from the Chinese Foreign Ministry telling us that it would be good for Ramos to come again. He is recognized in China for drawing support for the Asian business group.

FVR can use the many contacts he made through the years to shift attention from the UN Tribunal’s decision that ruffled China’s feathers.

Ramos has many contacts in China and a personal closeness to President Duterte to restore good relations between our two countries.

The prospects of Asian economic development and cooperation will be very bright in the 21st century.

Asian countries have participated in many organizations such as APEC and PECC, but they need a permanent forum led by Asians.

The idea of an “Asian Forum” was unanimously accepted in a conference last Oct. 8, 1999.

Hu Jintao said that the Chinese Government welcomed a multi-level, multi-channel and multi-form regional cooperation and dialog.

The Chinese suggested then that BFA be in Boao, Hainan Province where there was a large economic free trade zone.

With the background of his work with Boao President Rodrigo Duterte would do well to assign Ramos to initiate diplomatic talks after the Tribunal decision on the Spratly conflict.       .

“I would like to respectfully ask him to go to China and start a back channel,” Mr. Duterte said at a testimonial dinner in his honor. It was not known what would be the Ramos response.

Meanwhile Beijing released a white paper urging all parties to refrain from provocation and for the disputes to be resolved through negotiation.

“China maintains that the issue of maritime delimitation in the South China Sea should be settled equitably through negotiation with countries directly concerned in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS,” the paper said, referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

“Pending the final settlement of this issue, all relevant parties must exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that may complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability.”

“We don’t understand the rationale of [former Philippine president] Benigno Aquino initiating the ruling,” Liu said. “But the leadership transition has offered a good chance for China and the Philippines to improve relations.”

He asked that the ruling be set aside to begin talks with China.

“China will not join such negotiations if they are based on the ruling,” he said.

Shen Shishun, a Southeast Asian studies expert at the China Institute of International Studies. “China wants to show that it still abides by international law, despite saying that it does not recognize the tribunal ruling,” said.

“Joint exploration and joint management are possible options. But China is going to maintain its sovereignty.”

“Duterte knows it’s not easy to convert the verdict into reality. He is realistic and pragmatic,” he said.

The United States and Japan called on Beijing and Manila to comply with the ruling, but the Association of Southeast Asian Nations reaction was to call for full implementation of the declaration of conduct.

Beijing’s decision to ignore the ruling has a precedent. When Nicaragua sued the US in the International Court of Justice in the 1980s the US said the court had no jurisdiction.

*      *      *

Social media is full of stories on how Jesse Robredo might have been killed. There are too many questions that have not been answered. Worse witnesses who might have been able to say something have since been killed. Leni has become the vice president and yet as far as I know she has not said anything or asked for further investigation. At the worst, it is said that all that seems to have vanished when she became vice president.

This is from Bobit Avila’s column. I cannot get it now from my facebook page because it has been hacked.

“When on August 18, 2012, his Piper Seneca piloted by my good friend Capt. Jessup Bahinting crashed as it was attempting to land in Masbate, his own Undersecretary Rico Puno was reported to have gone to his office and ransacked it.

In her Facebook page, Philippine STAR fellow columnist Carmen Pedrosa quoted an article by Jose Alejandrino, which appeared on the blog of James Parmis last July 11th saying, “When Aquino was told of the plane crash, he instructed Rico Puno, USEC in DILG, to rush to Robredo’s condo and to look for files and dispose of them because they contained incriminating evidences against two Cabinet members.”

Alejandrino noted about Jesse Robredo saying, “Before he died in a fatal crash he was investigating drug lords and their connections to the PNP. He discovered the links to some Generals, notably two who have been named among five by Duterte.”

Alejandrino added, “Jess informed President Aquino of his investigations. The problem was, it was not only the drug lords who had links to some PNP Generals, but as Jess dug deeper found that they had links to Palace officials.”

Were his death and Duterte’s drive against generals and public officials protecting drug lords connected? If it were then there is an even greater reason for a brave man like Duterte to have been elected President.

*      *      *

The headache for Duterte is how to set up a new government that will follow his program of reform. He is starting from scratch and having been a city mayor is not enough for him to know who’s who. He is working in the dark in some cases. For example, I and several others were alarmed at his appointment of RJ Jacinto in government. Although RJ is a personal friend of mine I must say here and now that he should not be in  reform minded government.

 Sources allege he had several cases in US courts for fraud enough to issue a hold order  by US courts. Those who know his reputation should come forward to give his background to the President. That is how we can help the President fulfill his promise of change.

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