Lacson rues Duterte’s ‘heartbreaking’ stand on boat ramming incident
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson was “heartbroken” when President Rodrigo Duterte supposedly exercised his “last option of surrender” on the Recto Bank incident.
Lacson had no qualms expressing this sentiment in a Twitter post on Tuesday.
“The President broke his silence and left us heartbroken,” he said.
“He (Duterte) forgot to explore all resources available before exercising his last option of surrender. The MDT is one yet untapped weapon,” Lacson added, referring to the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States.
Lacson, however, reiterated that he was not suggesting war, but invoking the treaty, he said, would at least make China feel the “balance of power” in the West Philippines Sea (WPS).
His remark came a day after Duterte broke his silence on the ramming and sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese fishing vessel, calling it a “little maritime accident.”
“Pero ‘yang nangyari diyan sa banggaan, that is a maritime incident. ‘Wag kayong maniwala sa mga politiko na bobo, gusto papuntahin yung Navy. You do not send gray ships there. Banggaan lang ng barko ‘yan, do not make it worse,” the President said in a speech.
(What happened there is a collision. That is a maritime incident. Don’t believe stupid politicians. They want the Navy to go there. You do not send gray ships there. It’s just a collision, do not make it worse.)
But Lacson said: “We should be disappointed, not much by his insulting remark but his self-limiting course of action which disregards an effective ‘weapon’ in our arsenal. It is found in the Mutual Defense Treaty.”
He noted that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent statement that the US and the Philippines have an obligation under the MDT “to respond accordingly if a vessel belonging to either party, military or civilian is attacked in the West Philippine Sea which according to him is within the area of the Pacific.”
“As I said in my tweet, I am not praying for World War III, but at least a strong presence of the US Pacific fleet in the WPS can make China feel the balance of power in that area,” Lacson stressed. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)
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