MANILA, Nov 2 (Mabuhay) –Not a scare tactic, but a “bully attitude” by the United States toward the Philippines.
This was how Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson reacted on Wednesday to President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that the US’ decision to stop its planned sale of 26,000 firearms to the Philippines was a scare tactic.
“Yan lang pantakot nya sa akin. Hindi sya magpapabili ng armas? E karaming de bomba dito (It’s a scare tactic. The US won’t sell firearms to us? There are many bombs here),” Duterte was quoted in the media as saying.
But Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, had a different opinion.
“No, it was not a scare tactic but a bully attitude towards a longtime ally which is not fair to say the least, being an equally sovereign state,” the senator said in a text message.
“Prudence dictates that the state department should first show a conclusive investigation that says what Sen. Cardin has alleged before issuing a statement banning the sale of assault rifles to our uniformed services,” he said.
Lacson was referring to top Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin, who had reportedly expressed his plan to oppose the arms deal amid reports of human rights violations in the Philippines.
Recognizing that the US’ decision might disrupt the implementation of the PNP’s Capability Enhancement Program (CEP), the senator urged the police to start shopping in other territories for its armament requirements.
He reiterated that the Philippines could buy firearms from other countries.
“Taiwan for example has stopped buying their police firearms from the US and is now procuring their standard 9mm pistols from Germany which they say are better and more suitable to their law enforcement needs. There are other sources like Israel, Belgium, even Russia and China,” Lacson said.
Lacson previously headed the PNP during the time of then President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada. (MNS)