- DFA Sec. Yasay draws negative criticisms for sporting a ‘somber’ face after the UN court’s ruling
- He was earlier pictured laughing with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua
- Netizens asked why Yasay could not show a similar reaction over the tribunal’s decision
MANILA, Philippines – After drawing criticisms for saying that the current administration is open to sharing the West Philippines Sea with China after the court ruling, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay again earns flak for sporting a ‘somber’ face while reading the country’s official statement on the tribunal decision.
Yasay earlier said in an interview with Agence France Presse that the Duterte government is eyeing ‘joint exploration’ with other countries, including China, of the disputed territories which is believed to be very rich in gas and mineral deposits.
Yasay’s statement did not sit well with most Filipinos, saying the DFA chief should start packing up and vacate his post as his position on the maritime dispute appears to contradict the overwhelming sentiment of the people.
But what disappointed netizens the most is Yasay’s recent reaction after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled in favor of the Philippines.
While reading the official statement to reporters, the newly-installed DFA head can be seen sporting a ‘somber’ face, prompting the public to ask whether Yasay is not happy with the court’s ruling.
“Sad-faced? Maybe a deal with China wasn’t consummated after all .. tsk tsk tsk. A lot of us Filipinos are not happy with your reaction Mr. Yasay .. You deal with China and the Philippines will end up the loser for all you care!” asked one commenter.
“The pro-China DFA Sec. Imperfecto yasay is diappointed. Hahaha!” added another.
Social media users also lambasted the DFA chief for referring to the West Philippine Sea as “South China Sea” in the official statement.
“The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision as an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea,” the statement read, drawing ire from netizens.
“You may still refer to the West PH Sea as South China Sea, according to no other than SFA Yasay. This, after that landmark ruling,” said one dismayed Twitter user.
Yasay’s reaction even trended on Twitter via the hashtags #Yasay and #DFASec.
From happy to sad
The negative feedback against Yasay’s seemingly sad demeanor over the PCA ruling was further fueled after a separate photo surfaced online showing him widely-smiling while speaking with a Chinese official.
The photo showed him laughing and in a lively conversation with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua, a copy which was shared earlier by the website Tankler.
The picture was supposedly taken during Zhao’s visit to President Rodrigo Duterte at Malacañang on July 7, five days before the UN court in The Hague, Netherlands handed out its ruling.
Netizens asked why Yasay could not show a similar reaction over the tribunal’s decision that has become a source of jubilation for many Filipinos.
On July 12, the UN arbitration tribunal rejected China’s historical claims to almost the entire West Philippine Sea via its questionable ‘nine-dash’ line. The Court also concluded the communist giant violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights by illegally constructing military facilities in the island in question, among other aggressive moves that sow conflict in the region.