By Robin M.S. Sage
Every week from 2003 to 2008, in a posh hotel at Manila’s financial district, Mary Macintosh, Undersecretary of State for East Asian Treaties, would meet in secret with Philippines’ James del Rosario, from Manila’s Presidential Management Staff. This, according to hundreds of incident reports in an archive of thousand diplomatic cables from the Philippines made public by Wikileaks.
The documents sketch secret dealings by Beijing, and Manila with regard to possession of the Spratly Islands, as revealed by del Rosario to Macintosh. The island chain, west of the Philippines is being disputed by several South East Asian countries, including the Philippines and China. The Philippines is a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations, which has promised to settle the dispute.
In vivid detail, del Rosario told Macintosh that the Philippines was poised to be the first South East Asian Nation to sign this secret treaty with China. Charter Change plans were in fact a cover to get the Filipino people to sign the secret treaty, recounts Macintosh in his correspondence with Washington. Many of Manila’s dealings with Beijing on economic projects such as communications have been cover for the secret talks. The plans were so secret that former President Arroyo’s inner circle fabricated reasons for their allies in Congress and in the press, the cables reveal.
The diplomatic cables describe the precarious position that former Philippine National Economic Development Authority Secretary, Romulo Neri had. He could not reveal details of the ZTE broadband deal to the public, or risk a diplomatic incident in the region. Revelations that the Philippines would be signing a Secret Treaty with the People’s Republic of China would irk the Association of South East Asian Nations, and even the United States.
The diplomatic cables were marked Secret: No Forn.
Mary Macintosh now serves as Chief Executive Officer of Washington House Americas Military Organization, a private intelligence, and security company based in Texas.
James del Rosario was last seen leaving his posh, Ayala Alabang mansion. He is believed to be in hiding when news that his name appeared on Wikileaks documents came out. His fate is currently unknown.
Map credit: Central Intelligence Agency, public domain.
About the author
Robin M.S. Sage – Robin Marie Sanchez Sage is a single, 24 year old Filipino American computer specialist currently on sabbatical from pursuing a doctorate in Biological Engineering at MIT. She graduated from Oxford’s University of Cornwall-Somerville (UniCornS) with a degree in mathematics and computer science. She is open to first dates, but wimp boys need not apply. And oh, she is currently living with her German Shepard named, Fluffy.