Recent events have raised concerns about alleged Chinese influence over certain Filipino officials, with a focus on the former Duterte administration. A government intelligence services probe was initiated following a raid on an alleged People’s Liberation Army (PLA) sleeper cell in Valle Verde on October 16.
After the arrests in Valle Verde, some officials hid and booked flights to Japan and Hong Kong. Sources say one of these officials had been involved in several bizarre and graft-ridden deals during the Arroyo and Duterte administrations. Another lost in his district due to corruption charges. This same official was the one who received millions of pesos yet pocketed most of these to fund pro-China propaganda.
Many of these officials have supported China’s actions in the West Philippine Sea. The owner of the house where the Chinese nationals were arrested is currently under interrogation.
Atty. Rommel Vallejo, who led the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) raiding team, dismissed claims of the Chinese nationals being PLA sleeper cells. Former National Security Adviser (NSA) Raffy Alunan III holds a different view. In his column for the Manila Times, Alunan expressed concerns about the potential presence of numerous PLA sleeper cells that could threaten Filipino military installations. Tensions in China-Philippines relations escalated after a Chinese Coast Guard ship collided with a Philippine supply ship at the Ayungin Shoal, drawing condemnation from Western allies, including the United States.
According to an intelligence source, they have been closely monitoring what they describe as “modern-day Filipino Makapilis” following their involvement in a meeting of the International Affairs Committee delegation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Pasay City last April, which was attended virtually by former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
One of these former high-ranking officials reportedly housed many Chinese nationals linked with the PLA in one of his buildings near the Valle Verde subdivision. These Chinese nationals reportedly use the vans of this former official in their surveillance operations.
Several other meetings, including one with a high-ranking Chinese government official in April, have also been scrutinized. It is believed that the Chinese government is utilizing a Filipino political party to undermine or soften the Philippine government’s stance against Chinese grey zone tactics.
The source further revealed that there is a possibility that these officials, along with their media allies, are seeking China’s support for extra-constitutional actions against the current administration. However, this information is still being verified.
Recent developments indicate a strained relationship between the Marcos Junior administration and the Duterte group.
This tension escalated after political allies of President Duterte’s cousin, Speaker Martin Romualdez, blocked the 650 million pesos in intelligence funds to the Department of Education, led by Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte.
Subsequently, the former president publicly criticized the Philippine Congress, even making threats against its members.
Duterte admitted to using his intelligence funds for actions against local Communist Party members in Davao, prompting civil society members to seek action against him from the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
In defense of his father, Congressman Paolo Duterte, they claimed that the threats were not carried out, a stance currently under scrutiny by human rights organizations.