Enrile to Duterte: Marcos also blocked from buying arms from US over rights issues
MANILA, Philippines — Like President Rodrigo Duterte, President Ferdinand Marcos was also blocked from buying arms from the United States over human rights issues, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said Monday.
During his taped public address, Duterte recalled how the government tried to acquire about 23,000 assault rifles for the Philippine National Police (PNP) but was halted by the US Congress due to human rights issues.
“You know, that was put on hold by [US] Congress because they said that I was a human rights violator and [they rifles] will be used against my citizens,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino.
Enrile laughed and said: “You’re not the only one to whom they did that. There was President Marcos.”
Enrile served as defense chief under Marcos.
According to a 106 report from Reuters, the US State Department halted the planned sale of some 26,000 assault rifles to the PNP after Sen. Ben Cardin said he would oppose it,
Aides said Cardin, the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee, was reluctant for the US to provide the weapons due to concerns about human rights violations in the Philippines.
In 2020, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor said there was a “reasonable basis” to believe that crimes against humanity had been committed in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
In April 1986, around 10,000 victims of the martial law regime of Marcos filed a class suit at the United States District Court in Hawaii. The court decided in their favor on Feb. 3, 1995. The ruling was affirmed in 1996 by the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The first batch of martial law victims received their compensation from the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) in May 2016.
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