Locsin ‘only rational soul’ in Cabinet on Recto Bank incident – Lacson
MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Friday hailed the stand taken by Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on the ramming by a Chinese vessel of a Philippine fishing boat, saying he felt Locsin was the “only rational soul” on the issue in President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet.
“And for good reason,” Lacson said of Locsin in a tweet.
Locsin had rejected proposals for a joint investigation by the Philippines and China of the case, which caused an uproar in the Philippines after Filipino fishermen in the boat rammed by the Chinese vessel were thrown overboard, abandoned and left fighting for their lives at sea.
Lacson said the DFA chief made sense when he said “one cannot be a judge of his own case.”
As he called Locsin rational, Lacson said he’s “not sure” about other members of the Duterte Cabinet, referring in his tweet to chief legal counsel and spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol.
Lacson had proposed the Philippines put its Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States into play following the ramming of the Philippine boat, saying the more than 50-year-old treaty was the Philippines’ only “arsenal” against China.
Nograles, however, said the MDT can be invoked only if there was an armed attack on the Philippines.
But Lacson said the Philippines can invoke the treaty as a preemptive measure that would allow US forces to maintain a presence in Philippine maritime territory that is being gobbled up by China.
“Still on MDT: Invoke means to cite or appeal. Apply means to put to use for some practical purpose,” Lacson said in another tweet.
“The treaty is invocable even if not yet applicable. I don’t get it why some people can’t get it,” said the senator.
Lacson had accused Panelo of lawyering for China after the Palace spokesperson expressed doubt over the narration of Filipino fishermen.
“On his statement that he immediately saw a loophole in the fishermen’s story, it’s like having a mindset of a defense counsel who is entering his appearance for China,” Lacson said of Panelo
“That’s subliminal,” said Lacson, a former national police chief. “His immediate reaction was to see a loophole that China is not at fault. That kind of expression is like from a legal counsel of China,” Lacson said, still talking about Panelo in his tweet.
Panelo said Lacson’s statements were “shallow.” (Editor: Tony Bergonia)/ac
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