Senate free to probe China’s reported missile deployment: Roque

MANILA MalacaAang on Monday said that the Senate is free to look into China's reported deployment of missiles in the disputed West Philippine Sea (WPS) but maintained that national security concerns remain secret.

Well, iyan po ay katungkulan din naman ng Senado, hindi po namin ipinagkakait iyan sa Senado (Well, that's the responsibility of the Senate, we cannot prevent the Senate from doing that), Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told a Palace briefing.

Roque was reacting to statements from leaders of both the Senate and House of Representatives who said they will be filing resolutions, calling for an investigation in their respective committees.

Kaya lang maraming mga bagay-bagay po siguro doon na hindi pupuwedeng i-diskurso sa publiko 'no, dahil meron nga po tayong tinatawag na mga bagay-bagay na covered ng executive privilege at saka mga state secret because of national security (However, there are many things that we cannot disclose to the public because some are covered by executive privilege and others considered as state secret because of national security), he added.

Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said that the Senate Commitee on Foreign Relations conducted a probe and will hold a closed-door briefing for confidential matters when Congress resumes session on May 15.

Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, for his part, also said that he would file a resolution, calling for an investigation to find out how the reported missile deployment will affect trade and economy.

At present, Roque said that the Department of Foreign Affairs has yet to verify if the reported missile deployment is true.

Citing National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.'s pronouncements, Roque said that the government is currently acquiring a new technology that will verify reports on the said missile deployment.

We still do not have the verification. I had a talk with the National Security Adviser (Esperon) and he told me that there's a technology that we need that we still don't have to be able to verify it for ourselves, Roque said.

Reports showed that China deployed missiles to (Kagitingan) Fiery Cross Reef, (Zamora) Subi Reef and (Panganiban) Mischief Reef within the last 30 days. China has also reportedly installed a jamming device in one of the areas in the disputed waters.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying has neither confirmed nor denied the reported missile deployment. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency