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Lacson rues Duterte’s ‘heartbreaking’ stand on boat ramming incident

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 09:26 AM June 18, 2019

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.

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“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.

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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).

READ: Treaty with US is only ‘weapon’ in PH arsenal, says Lacson

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.)

READ: Duterte: Sinking of PH fishing boat ‘a little maritime accident’

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.”

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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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