Category: diplomacy


In a press briefing, Binay said China’s unprecedented decision to postpone the execution of the 3 Filipinos could be a recognition of the upcoming EDSA People Power Revolution that restored democracy in the Philippines.

heard vp binay on tv news last night saying he was so happy about the stay of execution granted without anything asked in exchange, he forgot to ask how long the stay would be in effect.   well, kung talagang walang hininging kapalit, it would be logical to assume that the executions will proceed in march?   when we’re done celebrating EDSA?

but if the stay proves to be longer than that, then expect intense negotiations behind the scenes, whether or not the aquino admin admits it, because china would definitely be wanting something in return, like senator miriam says:

“You cannot expect China will simply suspend the execution just because we said so. Hihingi yan ng kapalit sigurado.”   She said China may ask a number of things, which include an agreement on their stand on theSpratly Islands, the termination of the US-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement, or a joint program between the Chinese and the Philippine armed forces.

and like alex magno says:

By offering to postpone the executions, China very politely rejected Manila’s demand for a commutation of the sentences. Even as China did not concede anything in the last analysis, they allowed Manila to save some face. The Binay delegation was briefly received, not by the highest authorities we should point out. Not even by this political counterpart, the Vice-Premier. The Binay delegation was, very politely, downgraded.

The Aquino administration, which has so far demonstrated great shortage of diplomatic sophistication, might have not noticed the downgrade. If it did, it tried very hard to play it down. What was important was to have Binay received in Beijing and extract even the most token of concessions from the Chinese.

…This might seem trivial. But for a nation with 4,000 years of statecraft, the semblances matter immensely. Now that we have allowed ourselves to be treated like a vassal state, we would have difficulty exacting full diplomatic parity in the future.

For the privilege of treating us like a vassal state, all Beijing had to do was to postpone three executions. For that ultimately meaningless concession, we were so ready to sacrifice our place of parity among nation-states. The Chinese paid very little for us to lose so much.

Our government spokesmen were quick to put a positive spin on what happened. The postponement of executions was “unprecedented” and “unusual” we are told. The Chinese ambassador, only too happy to oblige the sophomores, reinforced the spin by so patronizingly saying this was a rare “consideration for a friend.”

That all sounds fine: until we put text in proper context.

These guys have such keen insight on how our culture works. Having been given such a rare “consideration”, we now owe our friends a debt of gratitude. Beijing will collect on that later. Trust them to do that: these guys have a 4,000-year tradition of statecraft.

The costs for President Aquino’s blundering blubber just continues to mount. Had he not linked the lives of Filipino drug mules in China to our unprincipled boycott of the Oslo ceremonies, we did not have to bend this low.

This humiliating episode is by no means over. Unless President Aquino articulates a clear and principled foreign policy, we will be dragged by the contingencies of individual events and the winds of populism every which way. There is little in what he has done so far that indicates he is capable of doing that.

Our people might help this administration behave more maturely in the global arena by not burdening the national leadership with capricious expectations — such as saving the lives of Filipinos who committed crimes abroad. Sure, narratives about the sanctity of human life and descriptions of erring Filipinos abroad as victims of poverty may be compelling ones. But we should be old enough to recognize that other countries have laws and we ought to respect them.

taiwan is a different story.   according to private emissary mar roxas, the chinese there are very angry, understandably, and unrelenting in their demand for an official apology.   maybe we should send vp binay instead?   and maybe we should apologize?   lalo na if mainland china ends up executing the drug mules anyway?