Colmenares dares Panelo to debate on PH loan agreements with China
MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial bet Neri Colmenares on Saturday challenged Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo to debate over issues concerning the country’s loan agreements with China.
“If Panelo thinks I am ignorant of the issues, then I invite him to a debate anytime, anywhere,” Colmenares said in a statement.
Colmenares made the challenge after Panelo accused him of politicizing the China loan agreement to get media mileage.
“Panelo is wrong in saying I am raising this issue to bolster my candidacy as senator. That is a pathetic attempt to divert and muddle the issue,” he said.
“Ipinaglaban ko ang Pilipinas against the attacks on our sovereignty may eleksyon man o walang eleksyon,” he added.
Colmenares also said that Panelo has resorted to “casting ulterior motives and making malicious, ad-hominem attacks ” instead of addressing the issues raised.
He then advised Panelo that instead of making ad-hominem attacks, he should assert the country’s sovereignty and protect national interest.
With the debate in view, Colmenares posed three questions for Panelo to answer:
- Why did the government grant the project to a Chinese contractor when there are so many Filipino contractors who can do the job?
- Which patrimonial assets will the government use as collateral for the loan?
- Why did the government agree to arbitration under a Chinese court using Chinese laws?
Colmenares earlier said the Philippines has entered into an alleged disadvantageous loan agreement with China for an irrigation project in the Cordillera.
“The loan agreement for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project is onerous and highly favors China. It is a disaster for the Philippines,” said Colmenares, who obtained a copy of the document from a non-governmental organization. /muf