President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. announced on Wednesday his intention to seek clarification from Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian regarding the purported gentleman’s agreement between his predecessor and China. (Photo courtesy of Malacañang Press Office)

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. wants to clarify from Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian the reported gentleman’s agreement between former President Rodrigo Duterte and China.

“We still have to clear it up. We are waiting for Ambassador Huang Xilian to come back from Beijing na umalis and I asked to see him baka siguro sa pagbalik na – at ipaliwanag niya ano ba, sino ba ‘yung kausap mo? Sino ba talagang kausap mo? Ano’ng pinag-usapan ninyo? Anong pinag-agreehan (agree) ninyo? Was this an official thing, or was it a personal thing, ano ba ito? Dahil wala kaming record, kahit saan ka tumungin, walang record,” Marcos said.

Marcos made the remarks when asked in an interview with reporters in San Juan about the supposed agreement that compromised the Philippine position in the West Philippine Sea issue.

He said he was “horrified” by the idea that the gentleman’s agreement or secret agreement had compromised “the territory, sovereignty, and sovereign rights of the Philippines.”

“So, sekretong ginawa ito. Bakit nila ginawa? Kung gagawin man nila dapat, bakit pa nila ginawang sekreto? Nakakapagtaka nga eh kaya it’s not a good situation,” Marcos said.

Marcos said he had been in contact with the top officials of the Duterte administration.

“We’re talking to his officials, maybe not the (former) president himself, but all his former officials. Tinatanong namin, ano ba ‘yan? Ipaliwanag n’yo naman sa amin para alam namin ang ginagawa namin. And we still haven’t gotten a straight answer,” Marcos said.

Marcos sa he would want a clear picture of what really took place.

Marcos reiterated  he did not know anything about the gentleman’s agreement, saying they were not briefed into it when he came into office.

Marcos said the gentleman’s agreement was supposed to be between the Chinese leader and his predecessor, but there were no documents or records to prove it.

He stressed the need to clear things up, saying officials of the previous administration gave inconsistent statements regarding the gentleman’s agreement.

Marcos was scheduled to fly to the US on Wednesday for the trilateral meeting with the US and Japanese leaders.

He reiterated his expectations for his trilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and US President Joe Biden, noting the meeting would focus on specific commitments by the three nations.

“This is essentially an agreement between the United States, Japan and the Philippines on cooperation in terms of maintaining security and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea,” Marcos said.

“That is the essence of it. But of course it will contain more details in the sense of how that inter-cooperation will be implemented. So, that is what we are going to discuss now when we go to Washington and speak with Prime Minister Kishida and with President Biden.”