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Amid controversy and questions surrounding Senator Antonio Trillanes IV's 'back-channel' trips to China, Manila's ambassador in Beijing, Sonia Brady, was back in the Philippines on Friday evening, flying in via Philippine Airlines, and taken straight to Saint Lukes Hospital in Taguig.
Brady, 71, is still recovering from a stroke suffered a month ago, but remains the Philippine ambassador to China, pending a search for her replacement. She is in Manila primarily for medical care, and her stay is unlikely tied to the issues surrounding Trillanes. Neither is there any expectation that she will be asked to shed light on the matter.
Despite her condition, however, Brady inevitably finds herself central to the brewing controversy over Trillanes and revelations that he had been authorized by President Aquino as a "back-channel" negotiator with Beijing on matters pertaining to the Philippines' disputed territories with China.
Diplomats, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Senate - specifically Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile - this past week expressed confusion over Trillanes' role in China. Enrile, in particular, in testy confrontation with Trillanes on Wednesday, demanded that Trillanes explain at least 15 meetings with Chinese officials, as well as clarify what mandate he exactly had from President Aquino.
Malacañang has acknowledged having accepted Trillanes' supposedly having "volunteered" to be a back-channel negotiator in Beijing, but absent actual reports on his missions, Enrile said there are concerns that Trillanes may have only succeeded to complicate matters for the Department of Foreign Affairs and the country's official diplomatic channels.
Brady is central to all the controversy because it was, purportedly, her notes - furnished the Senate President - that Enrile cited to illustrate his concerns. Among other things, the supposed Brady notes, ostensibly confidential, characterized Trillanes as arrogant as well as ignorant of the finer points in Philippine-China matters, belittling and ultimately undermining the sensitive work of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.
The Philippine ambassador to China arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 5:45 pm on Friday. She was accompanied by four embassy staff on the flight. From the airport, they were fetched by an ambulance from Saint Lukes Hospital and taken straight to hospital's Fort Bonifacio facilities.