GMA may have committed treason
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-03-02
When it rains it pours. The ‘luckiest bitch’ — as one of her allies called Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) — seems to have run out of lucky breaks. By all indications, her woes threaten to escalate from charges of corruption to treason. That’s right — treason — the highest crime a public official can commit.

GMA unilaterally violated an agreement with our ASEAN neighbors by allowing China to operate in the Spratlys. And from that Spratlys deal, arose such controversies as the Northrail, Southrail, NBN-ZTE and CyberEd projects.

I recommend that you visit the blog of my favorite ANC male host, Ricky Carandang (Korina Sanchez is my favorite female ANC host), at for his article titled “Treason!” Ricky’s blog narrates an incisive perspective, links and timelines that show how Philippine territory has actually been already ceded to China.

GMA uses her classic euphemisms in justifying the opening of the Philippine Spratlys claim to China, calling it “mutual development.” Her previous well-rehearsed spins (used to justify her many questionable deals), unfortunately for her, have already turned away many Filipinos from ever believing anything she says.

Forging a mutual development pact with China for the Spratlys violates an agreement with our other ASEAN neighbors who have also placed claims to the oil and gas rich territory. All this, she did for $8 billion worth of Official Development Assistance (ODA), payable at $2 billion per year.

“Aside from angering our neighbors and potentially undermining regional stability, Arroyo’s action may also be illegal. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez — who was then acting Justice Secretary — told former Senator Frank Drilon, who was then allied with the administration, that she believed that the deal violated the Constitution, because while it was a deal between the state owned oil firms (PNOC of the Philippines and CNOOC of China) of the two countries, it implicitly gave China access to our oil reserves. Officers of the Foreign Affairs Department were also upset because the deal effectively strengthened China and Vietnam’s claim to the Spratlys,” Ricky Carandang wrote.

I am also told that when this deal was struck, it riled many military officers, particularly those in the Navy who have the task of protecting the Spratlys. But since it did not generate any public outcry, they did nothing.

Military officers see this as aggravating security risks, much like letting a major power step into one’s porch. They can’t be faulted for feeling incensed. After all, they are the ones who will be doing the fighting and the dying in the event hostilities do break out.

I am sure that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is well aware of this deep-seated issue with the military. Trillanes recently filed a Senate resolution to investigate this highly-irregular ceding of the Spratlys to China.

Lurking in the shadows of this equation is the US and its geopolitical interest. Expect the US to consider this as a serious threat to its own security and control in this region.

The US and China are now locked in an inevitable geopolitical confrontation. Powers like the US and China — unlike us Filipinos who live on a meal to meal basis — plan their wars decades before these are fought. The Iraq Invasion was all about that projected confrontation with China — to cut off China from Middle East oil sources.

The Chinese incursions in Africa are all about their countermoves to US foothold in the Middle East. The big difference between their approaches is that the US used force in Iraq while China is using its economic might in Africa and the Philippines.

The bigger complication of the Spratlys issue for GMA is that it strikes a sensitive chord among military officers. Put into account the tremendous influence that the US has on our military officers (many of them train in US camps) and you will have a better appreciation of the hidden dimensions of the Spratlys deal of GMA.

GMA is now facing the worst possible turn of events with the anti-GMA groups in the military (still solid on their position about her illegitimacy to rule) now equipped with a treason issue. This of course is a good entry point for the US, among its many other options to safeguard its regional clout.

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and those other fattened generals who never had it so good won’t be able to demand loyalty to a Commander-in Chief who is under suspicion of treason.

No doubt, this will also impact on those who have taken a middle of the road position to the crisis spawned by Jun Lozada. An issue of treason just simply erodes all support bases. Even those GMA lap dogs in Congress may not want to be caught defending her on this issue, not even for triple the usual gift bags or pork allocation.

The regime can’t hide the facts or evade the issue. The Spratlys were ceded under highly-irregular circumstances. GMA violated an agreement with ASEAN neighbors and had upset our own security stature by eroding our right to the contested area.

What makes this a tsunami of an issue is that a lot of the plunder that is now being looked into are all products of the $8 billion ODA for ceding the Spratlys — the Northrail, the Southrail, NBN-ZTE and CyberEd. Nothing could be worse than to be perceived as having committed treason in order to plunder.

Treachery exceeds greed in fomenting political fallout. Those who benefit from plunder will be likely defenders of the act and we see a lot of that these days. But treason is a lonely crime that attracts few allies.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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