By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Panay News

"Nagpadala po ng kaisa-isahang Navy boat nung panahong yun ang administrasyong Aquino. Pag nagpadala ka ng gray ship, that's an act of war.”

Malacañang had this to say when asked for a comment after former Philippine envoy to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. said China reneged on its US-brokered agreement with the Philippines to pull its vessels out of Scarborough Shoal in 2012 amid a standoff there. 

In a Tuesday presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said it was under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III when the Scarborough Shoal, a traditional fishing ground, was lost.

"Bagamat nauna po ang administrasyong Aquino na magpadala ng Navy boat, sila rin po ang unang umalis sa Scarborough Shoal, dahilan kung bakit kontrolado ito ngayon ng mga Tsino," Roque said.

Pressed why the Aquino administration should be blamed rather than China who violated the pact, Roque said: "Nagkamali sila ng pagtiwala [sa Tsina].”

The Aquino government filed an arbitration case in 2013 before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, Netherlands due to the Scarborough incident.

In 2016, the international tribunal favored the Philippines’ case against China’s nine-dash claim sovereignty in the South China Sea.

The decision also ruled that the Spratly Islands, Panganiban Reef, Ayungin Shoal, and the Recto Bank are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

But, President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that the ruling granted to the country is just “a piece of paper that can be thrown away.”