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Panelo insists: Duterte’s verbal deal with China valid

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By Prince Golez

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo stands by his previous statement that the verbal agreement between President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping allowing China to access the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone is legally binding.

This, after Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the country’s 2016 fishing deal with China was merely an “agreement to come into an agreement.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. also said the supposed agreement cannot be enforced because it was only verbal.

“There are as many opinion as there are lawyers. It’s a free country so they interpret it that way. Eh di hayaan mo. Basta ako kung ano sinabi ni Presidente yun na yun,” said Panelo.

“As far as the President is concerned, he and President (Xi) agreed on certain modus vivende and they are doing it,” he added.

Contrary to Nograles’ remark that the verbal deal was “not formalized and in writing,” the chief presidential legal counsel said Duterte’s mutual agreement with Xi “has been recorded officially.”

“Every official trip, may nagre-record nun. So, yung bilateral nire-record yun. Hindi naman basta naguusap lang ang dalawa. Recorded yun officially by both sides,” according to him.

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