By Marjaleen Ramos
Senator Francis Tolentino on Tuesday assures that President Rodrigo Duterte will not do anything that will go against national interest of the country.
“I believe the President will not do something against the national interest of this country,” Tolentino said in interview with ANC’s Headstart.
Tolentino earlier defended the verbal agreement between Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping in his first privilege speech in the 18th Congress.
“My treatment here is that oral agreement is an executive agreement,” he said.
The senator noted that the Duterte-Xi fishing deal have three key points, namely, the validity of the verbal agreement, the need for international cooperation, and the need to produce more legislation to protect the seas and fishermen.
“Kulang yung batas natin para maprotektahan pa yung ating mangingisda, kaalinsabay sa paliwanag natin na atin talaga yung lugar, although limited,” he said.
Tolentino recently filed Senate Bill 209 or his proposed Good Samaritan at Sea Law, which seeks to implement international maritime laws to which the Philippines is a state party.
“This would clearly show — in terms of law — that we have control of the area, enforcement would be a different matter but there would be instances that we invoke the right of hot pursuit,” he said.
“Pwede mong habulin. Eh, wag lang makarating sa territorial sea nila,” he added.
Filipino fishermen were left to fend for themselves in the West Philippine Sea last June 9 after their boat was hit by a Chinese vessel near the Recto Bank.