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'Money Diplomacy' again!

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One of the most scandalous commercial deals that was consummated between two warring countries in history, was the sale of Mindanao and Sulu by Spain to the United States under Article III of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris. This took place about four months after that highly unethical and embarrassing military confrontation between these two countries for the capitulation of Manila was conducted as scripted and choreographed by Belgian Consul, Edouard Andre. This was the Mock War of August 13, 1898. Worse, this sham battle was conducted a day after the Peace Protocol was signed in Washington D.C. on August 12, 1898 officially marking the end of all hostilities in the war fronts of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines paving the way for peace negotiations. This protocol stipulated explicitly in Article V the following provision:
“That the United States and Spain will each appoint not more than five commissioners to the treaty of peace, and the commissioners so appointed shall meet at Paris not later than October I, 1898, and proceed to the negotiation and conclusion of the treaty of peace, which treaty shall be subjected to ratifications according to the respective constitutional forms of the two countries.”

In pursuance and compliance with this peace protocol, the following US Peace Commissioners were appointed:  William R. Day, Cushman K. Davis, William P. Frye, George Gray, and Whitelaw Reid. The peace representatives of Spain were: Don Eugenio Montero Rios, Don Buen Aventura de Abarzuza, Don Jose de Garnica, Don Wenceslao Ramirez de Villa-urrutia, and Don Rafael Carero. These ten peace commissioners were the ones who drafted and finally crafted the 17 Articles of the Treaty of Paris which was signed on December 10, l898.

It was in Article III of this treaty where in the Philippine Islands was ceded and sold for $20-Million dollars by Spain to the United States on the argument that the United States did not really acquire possession of this Spanish colony by virtue of a real war but only through a “mock battle” conducted on August 13, 1898 which also violated the peace protocol signed on August 12, 1898 in Washington D.C. formally ending all hostilities between these two warring countries. What was highly questionable about the sale and cession of the Philippine Islands by Spain to the United State was the fact that it secretly included Mindanao and Sulu in the lines and coordinates defining the territorial limits of the ceded Spanish territorial possession, without the knowledge and consent of their reigning Sultans, Ruma Becharas, and their respective adherents which to me is (as I have been consistently asserting strongly

which up to this writing has not been refuted by an expert in international law) the root-cause of this seemingly never ending sanguinary and   highly destructive intermittent war between the GRP and the Liberation Fronts.

The news that the Republic of the Philippines had given Five Million Pesos (P5-Millon) to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front under circumstances of secrecy and confidentiality has currently spawned wild speculations and suspicions with respect to the real motives and intentions of such a financial dole out. It has virtually resurrected the ugly memory of what the peace commissioners of Spain and the United States did when they conspired to include Mindanao and Sulu in the sale of the Philippine Islands under Article III of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris.

Was it a form of revolutionary tax paid to the MILF by the Philippine Government? Or was it some kind of protection money for the GRP Peace Panel?  Under the laws and ethics of war, is it lawful and moral for the Government of the Philippines to give assistance to its own enemy? Is this kind of benevolence not an act of treason to the sovereign Filipino people? What really is the real reason behind this financial dole out to the MILF?
Or is it the same “Money Diplomacy” employed by United States and Spain to consummate the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris re-enacted by the GRP Peace Panel in smaller scale recently in Kuala Lumpur? The GRP Peace Panel owes the Filipino people valid, credible, clear-cut, and morally acceptable answers to all these questions.

By Clem M. Bascar




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