Topacio flays Hontiveros for ‘official’ Taiwan visit

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MAVERICK lawyer Ferdinand Topacio flayed Senator Risa Hontiveros for visiting Taiwan and meeting with its top officials in gross violation of the country’s ‘One China Policy,’ a brash decision that is expected to further strain the country’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China.

In his column at The Daily Tribune that appeared on May 15, 2023, Topacio said the leader of the discredited Liberal Party (Dilawan) appears determined to “cement her reputation as the most irresponsible member of Congress.”

Hontiveros, in her own press releases complete with video clips of her talking to Taiwan president Tsai Ing-Wen, boasted that she is the “first sitting Philippine official in more than a decade to visit Taiwan’s chief executive.”

“The boast is poor,” Topacio riposted.

“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:

“No official of the Philippine government may visit Taiwan.

“No official of the Philippine government may receive Taiwanese officials visiting the Philippines.

“No official activity relating to Taiwan shall be carried out without the clearance of the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

In her statements, Hontiveros also claimed discussed with Tsai the issue of Taiwan’s “independence” and the “external threat” posed by China.

Taiwan is an integral part of China where the Koumintang retreated after their defeat in 1949 during the Chinese Civil War.

Its reunification with the mainland has been repeatedly foiled by the United States which propped up Taiwan since then, even encouraging ‘pro-independence groups’ to break away from China presently headed by Tsai. China made it clear that it would use force to settle the issue should Taiwan leaders declare for independence, the ‘Red Line’ that no one should cross, including the United States.

Hontiveros’ visit and her declaration of support for Taiwan’s independence is not only expected to further strain PH-China relations but to increase tension in the entire region, leading Topacio to ask, “What the eff is she trying to do?”

Topacio also pointed out that if the lawmaker can escape by arguing that EO 313 only applies to executive officials, she is wrong.

“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,” Topacio explained.

“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,” Topacio pointed out.

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