As news of the alleged Chinese military installations in the south China Sea are reported, and President Duterte has stated that waging a war with China is futile, his detractors have gotten really excited.
Thoughts race back to 2012, when it was exposed that Antonio Trillanes, then recently released from prison, had engaged the Chinese in frequent 'back channel talks' as it started reclaiming areas in the SCS.
As soon as these covert talks were known, the public raised a howl. This was reported in, among others, the Philipine Daily Inquirer. A survey showed that half of its Filipino respondents believed Trilanes was a traitor. This was because, they reasoned, the eventual outcome of the secret meetings was the accelerated construction of the facilities. See that poll here:http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/281812/inquirer-net-poll-50-agree-trillanes-back-channelling-role-was-treason#ixzz5FoomRjdr
As history would have it, we engaged China in an arbitral case before a largely Western audience in the Hague, in a process the Chinese did not recognize. This governmental obsession to justify our claims was seen as an opportunity to proceed with construction, since the Philipines, subjecting itself to the arbitral process, dared not deligitimize it by engaging in actual conflict even to defend our sovereign rights. China's street smarts were at full play, and indeed, it won that round. While we busily tried to justify our title, China acquired our "property."
It is therefore suspicious that as China advances its occupancy in the SCS, and the howls against it by certain quarters get shriller, Trillanes engages us in a goose chase to allege that the Presidential Communications Operations Office misspent amounts. The Commission on Audit has already stated it had no findings to this effect. Deflection? Well, PR practitioners say that deflection is a tactic of the guilty.
Now, having seen what China has done, we ask the uncomfortable question. Who should we blame for all of this? Your 'back channeling' guess is as good as ours.