“Trojan Horse.” That’s what opposition senator Leila De Lima on Friday, September 20, called the signed agreement between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and China-led Mislatel Consortium, now called Dito Telecommunity.
“Any time now, this Trojan Horse will be knocking on the gates of different facilities and expose our other vulnerabilities,” she said in a statement, warning the government that the deal may pose a threat to the country’s national security.
The AFP on September 11 signed an agreement with Dito Telecommunity that allows the telco to put up its communication equipment and facilities inside military camps and military communication sites.
However, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on September 16 said he was unaware of the agreement at the time it was signed.
Dito Telecommunity being composed of a consortium with Chinese government-controlled China Telecom has drawn worries and criticism that China may use the deal for espionage.
Senator Risa Hontiveros filed Senate Resolution No. 137 seeking to investigate the national security implications of the deal between AFP and Mislatel.
De Lima expressed her support for Hontiveros’ resolution and called on the Congress to exercise its oversight function into the controversial deal.
“Congress needs to assert its oversight function and look into this MOA between the AFP and Mislatel Consortium. I fully support Sen. Risa Hontiveros’ Senate Resolution to look into the agreement as our sovereignty is already in a compromising position,” she said.
“Our national security is at stake in this agreement,” she added.
According to De Lima, the AFP’s deal with Mislatel was tantamount to treachery “in the same league as President Rodrigo Duterte’s setting aside our claim over the West Philippine Sea and his entering into onerous deals with the Chinese government.”
“Since the start of the Duterte administration, the public remains in the dark over the deals the government has been making with China. We do not know what the exact consequences of these deals are,” she pointed out.
“We just might wake up one day with our sovereignty totally stripped off our nation, all because of the deals President Duterte made with China,” De Lima added.