I-Risa-Ponsible (2)

“If Hontiveros thinks she can get away with her actions by arguing that the EO only applies to executive officials, she has another thing coming.

In my column last 27 February (I-Risa-Ponsible), I called out opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros for histrionically claiming large-scale smuggling in the Department of Agriculture, just because it is the President who is the concurrent agriculture secretary. Awa ng Diyos (as the old Batangueño expression goes), three months later, no cases have been filed against any official of the DA.

Now Ms. Hontiveros, seemingly wishing to cement her reputation as the most irresponsible member of Congress, went to Taiwan to meet with its President, even boasting that she (Hontiveros) is the “first sitting Philippine official in more than a decade to visit Taiwan’s chief executive.”

The boast is poor. There is a reason why government officials of our country do not visit Taiwan, at least not officially, and more so not to meet with any incumbent Taiwanese official. It’s a little something called LAW, the concept of which Hontiveros should be constantly reminded of considering how many times she has been sued (and has even become an accused in court) for violating it.

The law, in this case, is Executive Order 313, Series of 1987, penned by no less than the Yellows’ patron saint Cory Aquino. The said EO makes very clear directives when it comes to visits to Taiwan by any official of our government, and I quote:

“1. No official of the Philippine government may visit Taiwan.

  1. No official of the Philippine government may receive Taiwanese officials visiting the Philippines.
  2. No official activity relating to Taiwan shall be carried out without the clearance of the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

Truly, it cannot be clearer than that. But what is worse on the part of Risa is that not only did she violate the law, but she also even visited the Taiwanese President to strongly insinuate that she supports the issue of Taiwan’s independence knowing full well that that word is a strong trigger for the People’s Republic of China. Which leads one to ask, in a most scholarly fashion, “What the eff is she trying to do?”

If Hontiveros thinks she can get away with her actions by arguing that the EO only applies to executive officials, she has another thing coming. That EO was issued in the implementation of the joint communique of 1975, whereby our country opened up diplomatic relations with China, at the same time instituting the “One-China Policy”. That communique, in turn, was formulated in response to Resolution 2758 of the United Nations General Assembly in 1971. In other words, the joint communique was done based on international law, and it thus assumes the nature of a treaty under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, to which the Philippines is a signatory. And by the doctrine of incorporation stated in the 1987 Constitution, the said communique forms part of the law of the land.

Therefore, in going to Taiwan while in government, making her trip official in nature and meeting with the chief executive of Taiwan and talking about independence, Ms. Hontiveros not only thumbed her cosmetically enhanced nose at the law, but she deliberately stoked the fires of tension already ablaze between China and the Philippines.

That is the height of legal irresponsibility.

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