Senate denounces Chinese 'bullying' in West PH Sea

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 15) ---  On the last day of sessions before the Christmas break, an impassioned Senate on Wednesday approved a resolution denouncing what it described as China's bullying in the West Philippine Sea.

In a privilege speech, Sen. Francis Tolentino showed footage of the incident near Pag-asa Island last month, when a Chinese coast guard vessel forcefully took what's believed to be rocket debris retrieved by the Philippine Navy.

In the video, Philippine Navy personnel were head saying, "Pinutol nila yung tali, kinuha nila, binawi nila uli. Wala kami, mahina yung rubber boat namin."

[Translation: They cut the rope and took. Our rubber boat was no match.]

"[L]et us continue to denounce the brazen intrusions into our maritime territory and do all within our power to assert our rights," Tolentino stressed.

The Chinese embassy has denied there was a confrontation, and called the incident just a "friendly consultation."

"That damning video, subukan ng Chinese Ambassador sa Pilipinas ipagmukhang friendly consultation iyan," Sen. Risa Hontiveros said.

[Translation: That damning video. I dare the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines to call that a friendly consultation.]

The Philippines sought an explanation from China through a note verbale.

Senators, however, said Beijing has been ignoring the dozens of diplomatic protests filed by Manila over the maritime row.

"I want them to hear it, that's why I am making my voice loud and clear... Bawal ang bully [Bullies are not allowed]." Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda said.

"Kung nakikinig kayo mga Chinese, galit na kami [If the Chinese are listening, we are angry]. To tell you frankly, we are mad by what you are doing to our troops," Sen. Bato dela Rosa also said.

"We want to send this message to this bullying country that they will never be able to bully us," Sen. Joel Villanueva added.

The resolution also directs the Senate committees on national defense and foreign affairs to look into China's actions in the disputed waters.

On Wednesday, the Department of National Defense expressed "great concern" over the presence of Chinese vessels in parts of the West Philippine Sea, maintaining that any violation of the country's sovereign rights is unacceptable.

CNN Philippines correspondent Eimor Santos and digital producer Jelo Ritzhie Mantaring contributed to this report