Manila, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Philippine Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the feisty chair of the senate foreign relations committee, slammed the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and called Presidents Barack Obama and Noynoy Aquino the modern-day ‘Pontius Pilates.’
EDCA provides for increased U.S. military presence in the Philippines. The 10-year agreement was signed by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg. The senator asked: “Obama was coming to the Philippines anyway, so why was the agreement not signed by him and Aquino? I suspect both presidents wanted to wash their hands over this controversial agreement so that if things take a turn for the worse, neither of them would be held responsible.”
Defensor-Santiago also protested the fact that the Senate wasn’t given the courtesy of being furnished a copy of the draft agreement, as would be proper in a democratic government with three branches.
“Pontius Pilate washed his hands because he wanted no part in crucifying Jesus Christ. Well, I think the Filipino people should crucify Aquino and Obama,” Defensor-Santiago said.
Aquino’s presidential press office, reacting to Defensor-Santiago’s tirade, said, “it’s sour grapes on her part; she’s mad because she was not given a seat next to Obama during the state dinner honoring the American president. She wanted the opportunity to take a ‘selfie’ with Obama.”
The senator countered: “Had I known that they were going to serve lapu-lapu (grouper) at the state dinner, I would have politely declined the invitation. I hate fish!”
And so it looks like the battle moves on to the third branch of government, all the way to the Supreme Court.