Press Release
November 23, 2011

Transcript of Sen. Serge Osmeña's ambush interview on
the appointment of Domingo Lee as Ambassador to China

Q: Wala bang iba na puwedeng i-appoint?

Serge: That's what I am telling Malacañang. Ipadala mo iyan sa Argentina o sa Italy, hindi ako mag-question diyan pero, we're about to go to war with the second most powerful nation in the world, their economy is already No. 2, their military is about to become No. 2. And then we're gonna send somebody like this guy?

Q: You're saying hindi siya qualified?

Serge: He's absolutely not qualified. He's not even qualified to become Consul.

Q: So, there's no way you're going to let him go to Beijing?

Serge: No. But I am only 1 of 25 in the Commission on Appointments.

Q: The others don't seem to be pretty much convinced?

Serge: Well, we will see. We have seen what happens when the power of the Palace is used.

Q: What was that newspaper that you quoted?

Serge: That was Global Times. It's also distributed in English. The UPI editor in chief wrote about this, quoting the Global Times. He noted that China has declared war and has threatened to go to war with the Philippines and Vietnam. And he does not know about it.

Q: He's also a businessman?...

Serge: Even his businesses are also in trouble. Ayoko lang pahiyain eh. One business, New Dynasty, when he was roving ambassador, he got the China Airlines general agency for the Philippines. Ginamit ang ambassadorship niya to get the general agent...general agent meant ikaw ang ahente mismo dito sa Pilipinas ng China Airlines, which is the airline of Taiwan. And he has not paid them in 5 months.

Iyong isa, 'yung steel, is in rehabilitation. It lost about P1 billion and it's loans were sold to an SPV, bought by Avenue Capital, they took a haircut, pero sine-service ngayon 'yung loan and it is being run by his son. That's Power Steel. Luging-lugi. As a matter of fact, it has been declared bankrupt, ginawa lang nila, they just re-valued their real estate, from P10 million to P90 million, so nawala na 'yung deficit, lumabas his asset was worth P90 million.

Q: How dangerous would be a confirmation of Ambassador Lee?

Serge: I think I can't even quantify the danger to the Filipino people sapagkat hindi po natin alam na the official Chinese newspaper called the Global Times, which is published not only in Chinese but also in English and sent around the world, just encouraged waging war against the Philippines and Vietnam over the South China Sea. Ang tawag pa sa atin, the two noisiest troublemakers.

Kaya sabi ko, teka muna, binasa mo ba ito? No, hindi. Kaya matatakot ako kung ganun ka-laid back ang ambassador natin.

Q: May technicality. He is only called Honorary Ambassador...

Serge: He was an honorary ambassador sapagkat pinagmamalaki niya na he was an ambassador during the term of President Cory. Honorary lang po. At P1 a year.

Q: Ngayon?

Serge: Now, it is official. So technically, he has no diplomatic experience. He has never been trained in the arts of diplomacy, that's a very sophisticated science, where you need years and years of training in order to be able to deal with the most sensitive subjects.

Q: What can he do to convince you that he is fit and competent?

Serge: You know, the first time I met him 2 months ago, humingi po siya ng courtesy call, sinabi ko na sa kanya: 'Ambassador Lee, I will have to exercise my constitutional right to test you on your fitness and competence, kaya po kami merong Commission on Appointments.' This is the people's way of ensuring that the people who are appointed to as ambassadorships, Cabinet positions, constitutional offices like the Commission on Elections, Civil Service Commission, COA, are fit for the position. Generals, colonels, consuls. Kaya sabi ko, "I will have to test your competence. I will like to advice you now, study as hard as you can, know as much as you can about China, the world of diplomacy, the types of diplomacy there are, kasi itatanong ko po sa inyo." Eh wala siyang alam hanggang ngayon. So I asked him: Strike 1, what is diplomacy? Para-diplomacy? Regional diplomacy? Hindi niya alam 'yun. Sabi ko, 'you did not even bother.' Ako, nag-aral ako just to question him. And I have about 3 dozen other things to do in the Senate. And this is your only job, and I know more than you do in this job. Medyo mali 'yun ah.

Q: Ano mangyayari sa future ng China-Philippines diplomatic ties if he is put there in the middle of it all? What do you think is going to happen?

Serge: I can see several pending disasters. That's going to happen if you put an incompetent person like Domingo Lee as ambassador to Beijing and I am appealing to the President to withdraw his nomination because it is not fair to the Filipino people.

Q: Malapit siya kay PNOY?

Serge: It looks like that. It looks like personal friendship has overtaken the national interest here. And I think this is going a bit too far. And with due respect, I hope that President Noynoy withdraws his nomination.

News Latest News Feed