Is the Philippines afraid of China’s continued presence at the disputed Scarborough Shoal?
This question cropped up Tuesday a few hours after 19 senators adopted two treaties that would strengthen the Philippines' relations with China.
The senators voted for the approval of Senate Resolution No. 734 or the "Treaty between the Republic of the Philippines and the People's Republic of China concerning Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters."
The treaty seeks to establish measures of "cooperation in the investigation, prosecution and suppression of criminal offenses and in the proceedings related to criminal matters."
The Senate also adopted Senate Resolution No. 732 or the "Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Between the Republic of the Philippines and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland."
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said the treaties would ensure more protection for Filipinos living in China and the United Kingdom.
"Passing the treaties on mutual legal assistance between the Philippines, China and the United Kingdom is one positive step towards better bilateral relations. It allows us to move forward in helping each other police our citizens and arrest the proliferation of crime," Enrile said.
Sen., sponsor of the two resolutions, highlighted the need for Philippines to sign treaties on mutual legal assistance with other countries as she believes that the "fight against crime and corruption is not confined within our borders."
"Given the more porous characteristic of our borders, criminals have unscrupulously used our resources in engaging in their affairs, while successfully evading the reach of our laws," Legarda said in her sponsorship speech.
It can be recalled that a “boycott Chinese products” launched two weeks ago by militant groups in Manila was also a failure.