The Liberal Party on Saturday called to mind the bravery of late former President Benigno Aquino III (PNoy) in standing up to China until The Hauge arbitral victory was won on July 12, 2016, which invalidates Beijing’s excessive claims that trample on the West Philippine Sea.
In a statement, the LP holds up for everyone to remember PNoy’s take of the arbitral court’s ruling: “We stood up to them at the [outset] and now so many others are doing the same. We stood up to China because it was the right thing to do.”
According to the LP — PNoy’s political party — the quote was part of the former president’s acceptance speech at the JW Diokno awards in February 2021.
For the LP, the arbitral victory, especially in the wake of PNoy’s death, is as much a promise as it is a reminder of what good, brave, strong governance can yield.
“As we commemorate this landmark ruling, so too do we commemorate the kind of leadership that makes victories like this possible: A leadership founded on the belief that “The Filipino is worth fighting for,” as opposed to one that cowers and yields to bullies,” the LP statement said.
“To treat this ruling as merely a piece of paper is to lack the courage and resolve required of leadership,” it added.
This is in reference to President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark that the arbitral ruling is just a piece of paper for the trash bin.
Also the LP took a swipe at Duterte’s paying lip service to his campaign promise of standing up to China in a supposedly symbolic act of defiance “riding on a jet ski and planting the Philippine flag” on an outcrop in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
But later, Duterte said that the “jet ski promise” was just a joke.  
“We celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Hague ruling, and express our gratitude to PNoy and the rest of the patriots instrumental in this effort. We pledge continued adherence to PNoy’s values, and commit to working for a future where our leaders will exhibit the same moral strength as he did,” the LP statement said.
In a separate statement, LP president and Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said the people must continue to assert their rights over the disputed waters, which is “key to addressing hunger, poverty, and high power cost.”
Pangilinan pointed out that the West Philippine Sea is home to vast marine resources that could support the people’s needs as well as provide a source of income to Filipino fishermen.
“There are the threats of looming brownouts, weekly spiraling oil prices, and the hunger plaguing millions of Filipinos. The answers to all these could be found if we harness responsibly the wealth of our waters,” he said in a statement.
“The international tribunal ruling seals our stake in the disputed waters but we have to continue asserting our rights and safeguarding our territory. We have to be united as a nation,” he added. —Ma. Angelica Garcia/LBG, GMA News