Duterte didn’t downplay ramming of Pinoys’ fishing boat – Piñol
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte did not downplay the ramming and sinking of the boat of 22 Filipino fishermen by a Chinese vessel at Recto Bank in West Philippine Sea, but was instead “listening to all angles of the story,” Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol pointed out on Tuesday.
In a speech on Monday, the President finally addressed what he said was a “little maritime accident.”
“He (President) was not actually downplaying the incident,” Piñol said in a phone patch interview with ABS CBN News Channel.
“He was listening to all angles of the story before making a statement, and that is the mark of a true leader,” he explained.
Piñol explained that the President was “cautious” in issuing a statement since “things were not very clear.”
“People should understand why he’s very cautious and issuing a statement because at the time after the incident, things were not very clear,” he said.
He also pointed out that Duterte is not a “demagogue” who will play along “to the cries of the mob.”
“He (President Duterte) has to make a decision based on the intelligent appreciation of the facts. He just cannot make a haphazard decision just to satisfy the lust for blood of some sectors,” Piñol said.
“We have to understand the implications of whatever actions we take in this matter,” he added.
He also noted that the government is not trying to defend China but noted that the incident is “very sensitive issue” which involved “relations with a major trading partner.”
“This is a very sensitive issue. This involves not only a maritime incident but our relations with a major trading partner as well,” Piñol said.
“We’re not trying to defend China here, if it really was intentional on the part of the Chinese vessel, the next thing that should be established is was it condoned or was it sanctioned by the Chinese government,” he added. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)
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