Press Release
March 23, 2019

Dispatch from Crame No. 491:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's statement on the ICC case vs Xi Jinping

To quote Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

In a remarkable move, just days prior to the effectivity of our withdrawal from the Rome Statute, with the help of former DFA Sec. Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, along with fishermen, filed a communication before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes committed in the disputed South China Sea against China President Xi Jinping.

In their aggressive and systematic attempt to control the whole of South China Sea, including our territorial waters, China has not only committed a wide-scale and almost irreversible destruction of the environment, but has also deprived our fishermen, as well as those from our ASEAN neighbors, of their food and livelihood.

Ilang beses na ba natin narinig ang ating mga mangingisda na humihingi ng tulong sa ating Pangulong Duterte na ipagtanggol sila laban sa panggigipit at pang-aapi ng mga Tsino sa West Philippines Sea? Mayroon bang naging aksyon ng Pangulo dito maliban sa pagtatanggol sa Tsina?

The kowtowing of this administration to China would be absurd if it wasn't so tragic for our fellow Filipinos. Duterte's reactions against reports of bullying by China in the West Philippine Sea have always been: a) to doubt if the Filipino fishermen are telling the truth; b) to scare us that China will wage war on us if we do anything that offends them; or c) blame Pres. Noynoy Aquino.

It is also clear where this administration's loyalty lies. DFA Secretary Teddy Locsin just recently assured China that the Duterte government would look out for the welfare of Chinese in the Philippines and heaped praise for China's ruling communist party. It was also just reported that Pres. Duterte is going back to China again this year; already his fourth visit in three years in office.

Because of the inaction and disinterest by this administration to do anything in spite of mounting evidence of Chinese abuses in our territory, our fisherfolks, backed by two illustrious and highly respected public figures, have no choice but to take matters in their own hands. It was a good thing that we still had the opportunity to go to the ICC and show the world that our citizens would not stand China's destruction of our natural resources and intimidation of our fishermen.

Dumating na ang panahon para pagbayarin ang Tsina sa kanilang pang-aabuso sa ating karagatan at sa ating mangingisda ng naaayon sa batas.

I ask my fellow Filipinos to support this initiative and vote for candidates who have the courage to stand up against China. It is time for us to defend our country and our future.

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