Former ES Medialdea denies existence of ‘gentleman’s deal’ between Duterte and China

Former Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea denied the existence of a “gentleman’s agreement” between former President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping during meetings he attended. Medialdea made this statement during a joint hearing of the House of Representatives committees on national defense and security, as well as on the West Philippine Sea.

Medialdea disclosed that he was present at two meetings between Duterte and Xi in November 2018 and August 2019. He emphasized that no such agreement took place, stating that Duterte, being a lawyer, understood the risks of making an oral agreement with another head of state.

The former executive secretary also revealed that there were eight meetings between Duterte and Xi from October 2016 to 2019, during which Duterte was accompanied by his foreign affairs secretaries.

The controversy over a supposed gentleman’s agreement arose after former Duterte spokesperson, Atty. Harry Roque, confirmed that Duterte and China had an agreement to maintain the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. This revelation prompted inquiries and subsequent investigations by the two House panels.

During the initial hearing, Medialdea and former Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana were absent, citing prior commitments. However, both were present at the following hearing, with Medialdea mentioning that former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. would attempt to catch up.

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