San Beda lawyer brilliantly answered Sereno's question 'Why the closeness to China?' - The Daily Sentry

Thursday, November 22, 2018

San Beda lawyer brilliantly answered Sereno's question 'Why the closeness to China?'

Ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping with President Rodrigo Duterte / composite image from Google

San Beda lawyer and social media personality, Atty. Bruce Rivera excellently explained to ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s question as to “why the closeness to China?”

Sereno fired the question to President Rodrigo Duterte during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinpin to the Philippines just few days ago.

‘Why the closeness to China?’

“We as a nation, especially our President, should not forget what is most important to Filipinos – love of God, freedom and dignity of every human being, preservation of the Philippines for Filipinos,” Sereno said in a statement.

“China opposes and crushes those values. Why the closeness to China and the repudiation of our international friends who share these values? Don’t negate who we are as a people, Mr. President,” she added

According to Rivera, he did not expect someone like Sereno to ask that kind of question.

‘What’s wrong with being friends?’

The lawyer started off by saying that China has known the Philippines since the Spaniards colonized us. And in fact, according to Rivera, the Chinese dynasties did not fight wars to invade the country when they already had the chance.

“The US invaded us and we are friends with them. Japan also invaded us and we are friends with Japan. So, what is wrong with being friends with a neighbor who never invaded us?” Rivera added.

Below is Atty. Rivera’s complete post:


I would have expected someone who is not a lawyer, who has not occupied a Chief Justice position and has not been exposed to international relations and diplomacy to ask that question but not Atty. Sereno. This is a question usually asked by an uninformed ordinary person. So, I will assume her to be the latter and answer the question.

FIRST, China is a neighbor who has known us even before the Spanish colonized us. In fact, even during the time when Chinese dynasties started to invade areas and territories, they did not fight wars to invade the Philippines when they had the chance before. Never in history wherein we had a threat of being invaded by China. The US invaded us and we are friends with them. Japan also invaded us and we are friends with Japan. So, what is wrong with being friends with a neighbor who never invaded us? Yes, they occupied several islands in the WPS whose ownership was disputed but the fact remained that China could have colonized us but they chose not to. Why? Because, they already saw us as someone who is similar to them in many ways. In short, you do not colonize or invade someone you share the same way of life. It defeats the purpose.

SECOND, we are close to China because whether you like it or not, our culture is more Chinese than it will ever be American or even Japanese. Before Uncle Sam introduced us the hamburgers, the Spanish introduced us to lechon or paella and even when Japan made us like sushi, we already learned about the Chinese culture. It was already assimilated in our way of life because for thousand of years before Magellan set foot in Limasawa, the Chinese had been trading with us, marrying natives and many Chinese have already called our lands their own. If you look at our Muslim brothers and sisters, many of them have distinct Chinese features. And why is that? It was not because China was able to conquer Mindanao. It was an assimilation of races due to thousand of years of interaction. And even with Spanish, American and Japanese influences over the years, our Chinese heritage remains strong and unyielding. You see, Maria Lourdes Sereno sounds Spanish but if you look at your face, you are more Chinese than you are Spanish. So, yes...that is a reason to be close to China.

THIRD, China is a superpower not just in terms of military power but economic power as well. If it really wanted to subdue us, there is nothing the world can do. The UN or any member of the Security Council could not stop China from annexing Tibet or Mongolia. Yes, Taiwan stood up against China but Taiwan has historical motivations to be where it is now. And there is a big geographical reason why China did not force itself on Taiwan in the same way it did not colonize the Philippines. Let me just summarize it in one word: TYPHOONS. But I am digressing here. Let us be logical. If we go out of our way to befriend the US, the EU, Russia, Japan and other superpowers, then there is no reason not to do so with the geographically closest superpower. What is so wrong when we befriend a superpower whose missiles can reach our shores when we have been kissing theass of other superpowers whose missiles are so far away to threaten us.

FOURTH, this is now a world of geopolitics rather than ideology. Before, we based our alliances on ideology. Hence, the Philippines gravitated on Western states and shunned communist leaning states. However, with communism and capitalism concepts muddled and rendered coexistential, gone are the days when we fear closeness to China or Vietnam. In fact, in these times when European countries had to form the EU for economic exigencies, we have to rely on being close with our Asian neighbors for our own collective self-presevation and interest.

FIFTH, what is wrong with being close? When we were so close with the US to the point that we allowed our lands to be used as launching grounds so the US can wage wars on their enemies, thereby making them our enemies, it was okey for many of us, why is it so wrong to engage another state in closeness. Close lang po, hindi naman tayo magpapagamit tulad ng pagpapagamit natin sa Amerika. Have we not learned that lesson yet? My point is, we have to be friends with everyone because it is in our best interest. We can be close to China without burning bridges with the US and being close with Japan at the same time. The reality is, we have to understand our position in today’s world. We cannot afford to be burning bridges with anyone. After all, closeness does not mean we have surrendered our sovereignty and independence.

LASTLY, when it is apparent that China has shown their intention to make us our friend, what is wrong with reciprocating or just being cordial. Remember, the Queen of England has not made a state visit to the Philippines but we always see the UK as a close friend so when a state makes an effort to visit the Philippines like what Japan and China has done, is it wrong to reciprocate with cordiality. Feeling close nga tayo sa US kahit na hindi tayo binibisita nila ng matagal na panahon. And please do not tell me that the US has always repected our independence for us to not put them in the same plane with China.

Truth of the matter is, Atty. Sereno, the only reason why you are making an issue out of our closeness is because you are anti-Duterte and you want to make it appear that we are kowtowing to China. Truth of the matter is, the fact the China had to go the us means they respect us to give us the merit of a state visit. And that speaks highly of the Duterte foreign policy. Yes, China is a bully but so is the US. They are bullies because they have the power to back it up. Hence, if a bully proposes to be your friend, it is stupid to say no.