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FORMER President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was not among those invited to form part of the council of elders to whom the sitting President wished to discuss the issue hounding the continued incursion of China at the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque on Thursday disclosed Duterte’s plan to invite Aquino and other former presidents to hear Malacanang’s position on the WPS but it didn’t materialize, says a Palace source.

A check from Aquino’s camp confirmed that there was no invitation sent so far coming from Malacañang.

Roque earlier said that the meeting was called following President Rodrigo Duterte’s refusal to convene the National Security Council (NSC), saying that the NSC has not been effective in addressing previous concerns brought to its agenda.

Duterte previously hinted at inviting living former presidents to solicit insights on the maritime dispute against China. Among the living former presidents include Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Ejercito Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

During his regular national address attended by former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Duterte vowed to ignore criticisms hurled against him over what the opposition aptly described as dismal failure to assert sovereign rights at the disputed maritime region. 

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