Panelo slams US think tank: Don’t tell us what to do
President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal counsel on Saturday slammed a Washington-based think tank group for telling the chief executive to assert the country’s rights over the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“Hindi sila dapat nakikialam sa kung ano ang gusto ng Pilipinas. Tayo magdidikta kung kailan natin i-aassert,” lawyer Salvador Panelo said in an interview over state-run dzRB radio.
(They should not be telling what the Philippines has to do. We should be the ones dictating when to assert it.)
On Friday, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Southeast Asia program senior adviser Ernest Bower said Duterte should assert the Philippines’ claim over the South China Sea using the arbitral tribunal’s ruling in the Hague.
“It’s what Filipinos want to do and I think the Philippines showed a lot of courage. It had nothing to do with Philippine domestic politics, it had to do with the Philippines’ sovereignty and the rest of Asia and I think the world admired the Philippines’ courage and leadership to take that case and get the decision and I believe President Duterte would be wise to follow through on it,” Bower said.
Panelo echoed Duterte’s earlier statements that the government would assert its right over the disputed territories during his term but not for now.
The President said the Philippines would focus on rebuilding its strained relationship with China for now. IDL
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