In politics, there are no permanent friends, only permanent interest.
This adage has never been truer in the case of former political allies DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and ex-President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
The former allies went separate ways after Cayetano supported the candidacy of then Mayor Duterte in the 2016 election while Aquino stuck with Mar Roxas.
The two remain cordial until ex-President Aquino started criticizing the Duterte administration, especially on the issue of the West Philippine Sea and dealings with China.
Cayetano fired back by insinuating that former DFA Secretary del Rosario kept the former President in the dark, particularly in the dispute with China.
Apparently insulted by the Cayetano statement, Aquino hit back by wishing that Cayetano’s politics is as transparent like their hairs. [Rappler, August 1, 2018]
If Aquino thought Cayetano would laugh at his joke for old times’ sake, the ex-President was gravely mistaken as Cayetano hit back furiously than ever, posing harder questions with the intent to expose Aquino for what he really was as President – palaging walang alam via an open letter on Facebook.
Cayetano’s open letter has gone viral, generating 13K shares and 17K reactions just a few hours after he posted it on Facebook.
Check the full text of the open letter below.
An open letter in reply to statements of former President Benigno Aquino III
Mr. President Aquino,
Good Day, Sir. It’s regrettable that you chose to play with words, including comparing our haircuts, in responding to an immensely important issue and addressing people’s main questions about the situation at the WPS.
While we both lost some of our hair, your administration lost control of Scarborough and a great opportunity to expand tourism, infrastructure and agriculture. We also lost many opportunities for cooperation in fields like science and technology, protection of the environment, among others, all because of the approach you, together with former Sec. Del Rosario and Senator Trillanes, chose to adopt and implement.
Rather than debate which administration is more transparent and/or mislead people on many facets of this complicated situation, may I respectfully request that you answer the questions on people’s minds and help enrich public discussion on the issue.
1. How did we lose control of Scarborough Shoal in 2012 during your watch?
2. Who made the decision to end the stand-off by ordering Philippine ships to leave, and on who’s advice?
3. Who was in command of the situation? Was it you, or Sec. Del Rosario or Sen. Trillanes?
4. Why didn’t you order the Philippine ships to return to the area when the Chinese ships did not leave as expected?
5. What exactly was Sen. Trillanes role and mandate? He made 16 trips to China as your emissary. Where are the reports and what were the agreements reached?
6. Who did Sen. Trillanes negotiate with in the back channel talks? Who else did you authorize for this mission?
7. Sen. Trillanes had refused to reveal the purpose and nature of his trips when asked during a senate session by then Sen. Enrile. Instead he walked out and invoked presidential prerogative so he would not be compelled to respond. Since then, nothing has been heard of his secret trips. Why? How can you say it was transparent when the Embassy report was about only on one meeting?
8. We note that there seems to be a denial all around of any negotiated joint withdrawal of both Chinese and Philippine vessels from the shoal. Was there an agreement? Brokered by who?
9. What was the US commitment on the WPS issue, if any? And how was this relayed to you or was this discussed with you directly when you sat down with President Obama at one point in time?
10. What did you discuss with President Obama? He reportedly affirmed to Japan that the mutual defense treaty will be put into action if the Senkaku islands are threatened. Did Mr. Obama tell you that the US does not get involved with territorial disputes like in the WPS? How did you respond to that?
11. What are your plans or proposals for oil and gas exploration in the WPS? Do you agree that oil and gas exploration and development will be very beneficial to all Filipinos?
Our people await your response to these questions in earnest, to be fully informed finally of the background of our complicated situation. Your response will help us decide on how to proceed further in shaping our policy with China.
If, indeed, transparency is important to you as you claim, then consider your early response to these questions as crucial.
Thank you, Sir. We will be awaiting your reply.
P.S. You often reminded our people that we need solutions and not just plain criticism. You are right about it. May we have your alternatives or proposals instead of merely criticizing the government today? Thank you.