Lacson: Duterte values China’s friendship but loves his country more
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte may value his friendship with China but he still “loves” his country more, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said on Saturday.
“President Duterte, alam mo, he values friendship pero I’m sure he loves his country more so hindi naman… kasi sensitive itong issue as far as the Philippine leadership or the President is concerned,” Lacson told local radio station DWIZ, when asked about Duterte’s silence on hit-and-run incident in the West Philippine Sea.
Lacson was referring to the incident wherein a Chinese vessel abandoned a Philippine fishing vessel and its crew after hitting it in Recto Bank (Reed Bank) on June 9.
The senator explained that Duterte did not release any statement of condemnation on the issue because he shows good friendship with China.
“Kasi nagpapakita siya ng pakikipagkaibigan nang mabuti, yun ang nakikita kong dahilan kung bakit ‘di siya nagsasalita,” Lacson said.
Lacson also clarified that he was not being an “apologist to Duterte” but he thinks that the President may be gathering more information about the hit-and-run incident.
“Pero pinag-aaralan ko nang mabuti I’m not being an apologist to President Duterte pero kumakalap siya ng kumpletong impormasyon,” Lacson said.
Lacson also said the 74-year-old leader’s silence over the issue might be because statements have already been released by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of National Defense (DND).
“Naiintindihan kong hindi nagsasalita si Duterte, may karampatang aksyon na ginagawa ang DFA ang [DND],” Lacson said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana previously condemned China over the hit-and-run incident.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said they filed a diplomatic protest against China over the incident.
The China Embassy in Manila, however, denied that they committed a hit-and-run incident, saying the Chinese captain tried to save the Filipino fishermen but it was afraid that it would be “besieged” by other Philippine boats. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
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