Panelo on Lacson’s China ‘lawyer’ tag: That is shallow analysis
MANILA, Philippines—Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo dismissed as illogical and “a shallow analysis” Senator Panfilo Lacson’s remark that he is a “defense counsel of China.”
Lacson earlier chastised Panelo when the Palace spokesman cast doubts into the account of Filipino fishermen who were rescued after their fishing boat was rammed by a Chinse vessel at the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
“The perception that my pointing out of certain circumstances surrounding the Reed Bank incident previously unknown to us, creates the impression that I’m acting as China’s counsel, is sheer non sequitur as well as a shallow analysis of my examination of the incident,” Panelo said in a statement Friday.
Panelo, who is also the President Duterte’s chief legal counsel, earlier claimed that conflicting accounts concerning the sinking of the Philippine boat in Recto Bank will cast doubt on the Filipino fishermen.
He also rejected Lacson’s call to invoke the Philippines’ Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States following the Recto Bank incident, calling the appeal “reckless” and “premature.”
Lacson, who formerly headed the Philippine National Police, chided how Panelo gave a “premature conclusion” saying the Palace official’s statement “injected doubt” on the accounts of the Filipino fishermen even though the investigation has yet to be completed.
However, Panelo insisted that as a lawyer, he is trained “to dissect a situation, to arrive at an intelligent and rational study of the whys and wherefores of a subject of an inquiry.”
Duterte’s spokesperson also pointed out that the Recto Bank incident is “being dressed with misplaced emotionalism and pretended nationalism by those who are bent on politicizing an otherwise ordinary navigation incident into an international fracas.”
“They hope to succeed in getting the approbation of the nation on a misguided theory that the Administration is pursuing a foreign policy of subservience to China, a belief that is both wrong and unacceptable,” he said.
While the investigation is ongoing, Panelo has appealed to the “major players and kibitzers” of the incident to “hold their horses and let emotions settle down.”
On June 9, a Chinese vessel rammed and sank an anchored Filipino fishing boat at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana later condemned the “cowardly action” of the crew of the Chinese fishing vessel as they abandoned the 22 Filipino fishermen in open water.
The Filipino fishermen spent hours in open water until they were rescued by the crew of a Vietnamese vessel.
The Recto Bank is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and it is also one of the areas considered for a joint oil exploration with China. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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