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House leaders steer clear of Senate debates about Philippines-China territorial dispute
The online news portal of TV5

Leaders of the House of Representatives steered clear of heated debates in the Senate involving the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.

At the same time, Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales welcomed the entry of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II as Special Envoy to the 9th China-ASEAN Expo (Caexpo).

The Department of Foreign Affairs also said that arrangements are being made for Roxas to meet with top-level Chinese officials.

Gonzales said that Roxas was the best person to send to China because he is the “most trusted” official and has the ears of the President.

“Mahalaga sa kanila na iyong kanilang kausap trusted talaga ng Presidente. . . . Under the present crop of the President’s Cabinet officials, you can say that Mar is the most trusted and siguro that’s the President’s way of telling the Chinese government that it’s almost like you’re dealing with me,” Gonzales said.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the House will refuse to meddle with the confliuct in the Senate between Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

Trillanes on Wednesday accused Enrile of speeding up the bill that would split a district in Camarines Sur. The debates eventually spilled over to the China issue that saw Enrile discussing on the floor notes from the country’s Ambassador to China Sonia Brady.

“This is an internal affair if theirs and while we want to be informed, certainly we don’t like to inquire into the propriety or anything like that,” Belmonte said.

“I should think that our government under PNoy under these trying times will do as much as he can to deescalate the situation and at the same time protecting the sovereign rights of the people, particularly in the disputed areas of West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Asked if Enrile’s disclosure of Brady’s notes, which were classified as confidential, could set a dangerous precedent, the Speaker said, “I think that’s for them to decide, . . . it’s a document that exists there, at some point, people might want to do it, then it happened suddenly and unexpectedly, but I’m sure the Senate can cope with it.”

The House leader also played down talks that the Liberal Party was behind moves to oust Enrile from his post.

“Let me just say categorically, I have never heard of any talk ousting the Senate President and in fact this administration owes as lot to him for the way he has handled not just the impeachment of Chief Justice corona but other measures that have come up before that. I think we have absolutely no complaint on that,” he said.