Hard pass! Noy won’t sit down with Duterte to discuss West PH Sea

Former President Benigno Aquino III will not attend the meeting eyed by President Rodrigo Duterte with former presidents to discuss issues surrounding the West Philippine Sea, Politiko has learned.

Politiko’s source said Aquino will send his regrets in case he receives an invitation for a meeting with Duterte. So far, however, the former President’s camp has not yet received any communication from Malacañang regarding the President’s plan.

READ: Duterte clears Aquino on withdrawal of PH warship from Panatag Shoal: He doesn’t even know about the negotiations

Aquino also did not attend Duterte’s State of the Nation Addresses from 2016 to 2019.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday (May 20) said Duterte is considering a meeting with former presidents instead of convening the National Security Council (NSC), as proposed by former senator and Armed Forces chief Rodolfo Biazon.

The NSC serves “as the lead agency of the government for coordinating the formulation of policies, relating to or with implications on the national security,” according to Executive Order No. 292 signed in 1987.

It is composed of the President, the Vice-President, various Cabinet Secretaries, the National Security Director, the Armed Forces Chief of Staff, and such other government officials and private individuals as the President may appoint.

Duterte has blamed Aquino for the loss of Scarborough Shoal to the Chinese. The President has repeatedly pressed his predecessor’s former Foreign Affairs Secretary, Albert Del Rosario, and former Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia, to explain why they allowed Philippine ships to leave the shoal during a tense standoff with China in 2012.

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