Opposition Rep. Edcel C. Lagman reminded President Rodrigo Duterte that the serious matter of Philippine sovereignty is sacrosanct and should not be denigrated into a “campaign joke”.
Admitting a hyperbolic joke does not mitigate Duterte’s reneging on his sworn constitutional duty to uphold the country’s sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea.
Of course no one believed that the President would physically jet ski to plant the Philippine flag in the Spratlys Islands, but the electorate clearly understood that candidate Duterte vowed and committed to protect and enforce Philippine sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea.
The eventual international arbitral decision on July 12, 2016, less than two weeks after President Duterte’s assumption of the presidency, has actualized the symbolism of Duterte’s “joke”.
However, Duterte failed and refused to pursue and enforce the adjudication confirming Philippine ownership of the vital resources and vast territories in the West Philippine Sea against China’s spurious claims and aggression.
This is another failed campaign promise like eradicating the drug menace, subduing corruption, solving the traffic gridlock, and mitigating mass poverty.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN