Lacson: Let’s end the West Philippine Sea debate
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday called for an end to the West Philippine Sea debate between the Duterte administration and the opposition.
“Hindi na nakakatuwa. Para sa akin, itong walang tigil na hamunan ng debate, kung saan-saan na napunta. So sa akin as far as I am concerned, tigilan na ang usapan tungkol sa debate, kasi hindi na nga natuloy, period,” he said in an interview with reporters.
(This endless debate isn’t funny anymore. For me, it’s gone in a totally different direction already. So as far as I’m concerned, let’s stop talking about debates because it will not happen, period.)
The senator was speaking about President Rodrigo Duterte’s challenge for a West Philippine Sea debate with retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, particularly the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that gave the Philippines a historic victory over China.
Carpio had accepted the challenge, but Duterte later backed out and instead tapped his spokesman Harry Roque to participate on his behalf.
Carpio, however, rejected the proposed topics of the debate with Roque, saying it is “pointless” to debate about issues that are not being disputed.
On Monday, Roque then challenged Vice President Leni Robredo to debate whether or not President Rodrigo Duterte had given away any Philippine territory to China under his leadership.
Lacson called all these substitutions just damage control.
“All these hamunan ng mga proxies, parang ang dating na lang sa atin, nagdadamage control na lang para madivert na lang ang issue ng hindi pagtugon ng Pangulo sa sarili niyang hamon,” the senator said.
(All these challenges with proxies seem to be an attempt for damage control to divert the issue on the President not taking on his own dare.)
“So if I may give unsolicited advice, the less they talk about that issue, I think we can all move forward,” Lacson added.
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