By Jun Ledesma
Depending on which side of the fence is the news and noisemakers, the incident involving the fishermen in a maritime accident refuses to settle down. The cacophony of chatters stemmed from an incident where two fishing boats collided in an inky dark environment. It would have been simple and unfortunate events but this one happened in a contested area and involved Chinese and Filipino fishermen.
It was not the contention of Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte alone, after assessing what brought about the collision, that the maritime incident was an accident, China said it so and the United States through its Ambassador in the Philippines simply and categorically stated so.
But the moribund opposition cannot accept the verdict. Running out of issues to demonize Duterte after the demeaning defeat of Otso Deretso of the Liberal Party and its allies from the Leftist fronts, the collision at sea was good enough to keep the Opposition afloat in the sea of political perdition. To rub in the issue of sovereignty the naughty ex-Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario flew to HongKong with his diplomatic passport knowing beforehand that the will face the same treatment as that of former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio. These two, as we already knew, filed cases against China’s absolute leader Xi Jinping in the international criminal court, remember? In the case of Del Rosario, he did his adventure with pompous drama. He flew to HK with his diplomatic passport and walked straight with no crutches and came home in a wheelchair, looked harassed but prepared to face the media to relate his ordeal.
Like Carpio however, del Rosario’s drama only stirred a whirlpool in a kettle. The 22 Filipino fishermen did not only bring home all their fish catch of several tons, but they were also given aid by the government and civic clubs. Soon after del Rosario touched down at NAIA 2, VP Leni Robredo surreptitiously flew to Mindoro, lavished the fishermen with more cash to bash the Chinese. As if those were not enough, Del Rosario also gave ₱500,000.00 to the fishermen. But even this did not wash.
In retrospect, there is something positive in all the narratives that emerged from this accident. From the simple realization that we have this Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea, that while we say that we have this exclusive economic zone and ergo all the marine resources within the EEZ belong to us under UNCLOS, where the Philippines is signatory, that is not actually absolute in many circumstances (am quoting from legal luminary Antonio Arellano). In domestic politics, we now know the true color and ambition of Sen. Ping Lacson. Now that Sen. Tonying Trillanes had been jettisoned from the Senate expect Ping to take over his role.
The fun never ends but the opposition will. As to former DFA Sec. del Rosario, there will never be any red-carpet reception for him in China with or without his diplomatic passport which he will lose anyway.