US Central Intelligence Agency Interfered in the Return of Balangiga Bells - Duterte

Manila Bulletin, March 7, 2019 | Go to article overview

US Central Intelligence Agency Interfered in the Return of Balangiga Bells - Duterte


By Genalyn Kabiling

The return of the historic Balangiga bells to the Philippines was made possible with the intervention of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), President Duterte bared last Wednesday.

The President admitted that he sought the return of the church bells in his conversation with the CIA, even threatening "never to be nice" with the United States if his demand was not met.

The bells, taken as war booty by American soldiers from Balangiga, Eastern Samar more than a century ago, were finally returned to the country last year amid repeated appeals from Duterte.

"The return of the bells after having been there in the far and wide, in between the years, for the demand for their return could not have happened had the CIA not interfered. Hindi masauli 'yon kung government-government lang [They would not be returned if it's a regular government-to-government deal]," the President said during the 1st anniversary celebration of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission in Malacanang.

"CIA ang kausap ko. Sabi nila, 'Okay, we'll work on it.' Sabi ko, 'Fine. Return it because you got it awash with blood of the Filipino' [I talked to the CIA. They said, 'Okay we'll work on it.' I said, 'Fine.. Return it because you got it awash with blood of the Filipino]," he said.

Duterte admitted that he even tricked the CIA into believing his "drama" that his relative was one of the Filipinos killed during the US-Philippine battle in Samar years ago.

"I said, "'You know, one of those who died there must have been my great, great, great grandfather.' 'Really?' 'Yes!' Wala gud. Pa-drama lang," he said.

Duterte recognized that it was the "culture of soldiers" to bring home war booty or things from countries they conquered. The Balangiga church bells, however, were taken at the cost of Filipino lives, he pointed out. …

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