House to summon Duterte admin execs over ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with China

The deal was largely an agreement not to repair the decrepit World War II-era ship used as a Philippine military outpost on Ayungin Shoal.

Gabriel Pabico Lalu

Gabriel Pabico Lalu

Philippine Daily Inquirer


File photo of House Speaker Martin Romualdez. PHOTO: PPA POOL/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

April 30, 2024

MANILA – Concerned House committees will invite officials from the previous administration to shed light on the “gentleman’s agreement” reached between then President Rodrigo Duterte and China regarding the West Philippine Sea (WPS), particularly on Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal—a pact now being questioned by President Marcos.

Speaker Martin Romualdez, a cousin of the President, revealed the plan in a briefing on Monday when asked if the House would still find time to hold hearings on the controversial deal before Congress goes on sine-die adjournment on May 24.

Confirmed both by Duterte and the Chinese foreign ministry on April 11 and described as a way to maintain the “status quo” in the WPS, the deal was largely an agreement not to repair or reinforce the decrepit World War II-era ship used as a Philippine military outpost at Ayungin.

Romualdez said the House leadership, including the committees that will tackle the issue, had already discussed the matter.

“Yes, we have already discussed this amongst the House leadership and with the committee chairmen involved. So we’ll try to ferret out the truth, what really happened, because our President (Marcos) said he was horrified (by the deal).”

“So are we because it is disappointing that they had a gentleman’s agreement. Although some say it’s true, some say it does not exist. So we should know what the truth is because that is what China is invoking,” he said.


“We’ll start with the past officials because they are responsible for executing agreements. Maybe their foreign affairs officials, the executive secretary, (for the committees) to ask if there was an executive order.

“Because there is a former press secretary who said it exists, and another said it does not,” Romualdez added, apparently referring to Harry Roque and Salvador Panelo, respectively.

As Romualdez put it, it seemed as though past Cabinet officials were playing tricks—“nagbubudolan”—on each other and later on China.

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