By Darryl John Esguerra

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (File Photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday took a swipe at the camp of his predecessor over its “excuses” in revealing the terms of its supposed “secret deal” with China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Marcos said he is convinced that there was indeed an agreement between the Duterte administration and China, noting Beijing’s repeated claim over the alleged failure of the Philippine government to fulfill its commitment in the disputed waterway.

“I don’t think Beijing will just make up and just out of nowhere say there was a secret agreement when there is no such thing. So, I think, to my mind, that is sufficient to prove to me that there was such an agreement,” Marcos said in a media forum.

This, according to the President, prompted him to seek clarity on the issue.

However, he said that all he was getting was “excuses” and contradicting remarks from the camp of former president Rodrigo R. Duterte.

“These are very simple questions, but I’m finding a deal of difficulty finding answers because I hear one thing, and another thing, and another thing. It’s all very, maraming palusot (there’s a lot of excuses), in other words,” Marcos said.

He added there is no accountability on Duterte’s part without the needed information.

“We are so far from getting to the truth… So, far away from it yet. It’s very hard to give a reaction to those questions. Let’s get those three questions answered. We’ve answered the first one. Now, what is contained in that secret agreement and why it was kept secret? Those are the two questions left. Once we get the real answers then we will know what to do,” he said.

Duterte’s former spokesperson, Harry Roque, had previously claimed that Duterte had a verbal agreement with China not to construct and repair Philippine facilities in the WPS.

Included in the alleged agreement is the prohibition in sending of construction materials to BRP Sierra Madre, the grounded Philippine warship in Ayungin Shoal that serves as the country’s outpost in the area.

Duterte recently confirmed this, saying that he agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping to maintain the status quo in the WPS. (PNA)