By Wilnard Bacelonia

FRIENDLY MEETING. Former Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte (left) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on July 17, 2023. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said he sees no conflict with the meeting, and it does not need his approval. (Xinhua photo)

MANILA – Senator Francis Tolentino on Monday said there is not enough basis for the Senate to investigate former president Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged “gentleman’s agreement” with China, considering that the agreement, even if true, is purely “verbal.”

“I don’t think there is, with all due respect, a sound basis for that (probe) considering that the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is very specific – an agreement has to be in writing,” Tolentino said.

Paano mo mara-ratify yung verbal (How would you ratify something that is only verbal)? Unless, you have a transcript submitted by the Department of Foreign Affairs to the Senate na ira-ratify. So, wala (that has to be ratified. So, nothing),” he added.

Hontiveros recently filed Senate Resolution No. 982 seeking an investigation into former spokesperson Harry Roque’s claim that Duterte engaged in a “gentleman’s agreement” with the Chinese government, which restricted the repair and rehabilitation of the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal.

“This ‘gentleman’s agreement’ is treasonous. While China, in any case, will most likely attack our resupply missions en route to Ayungin, this sham of an agreement only gave Beijing more ammunition to assert her baseless claims,” Hontiveros said.

The resolution noted that the National Security Council, through its Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya, said it was not aware of such an agreement.

Malaya said Roque should explain the circumstances of the deal and how it was brokered, considering its implications to national security. (PNA)