Lacson to US gov’t: Not all Filipinos are extortionists
Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Saturday fired off a jab at President Duterte by telling the US government that “not all” Filipinos are extortionists who demand payment for the continuation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
Lacson posted a tweet in letter format addressing “Sam,” the American symbol, to “clarify” a statement from Mr. Duterte that if the United States wants the VFA to resume, it has to make payments.
“Dear Sam, … Just to clarify, please be informed that we are not a nation of extortionists; and more so we are not greedy. Err … not all,” he said.
Lacson posted the tweet in reaction to the President’s statement on Friday that the United States must “pay” if it wanted to retain its troop deal with the Philippines.
“I would like to put on a notice, if there is an American agent here, that from now on, you want the [VFA] done? You have to pay. It’s a shared responsibility, but your share of responsibility does not come free,” the President said in a speech before Filipino troops.
The Americans, Mr. Duterte said, have purportedly been taking “so much from us (Philippines),” while much of Philippine demands “were not delivered at all.”
“After all, when the war breaks out, we all pay. You, us, we are nearest to the garrison where there are a lot of arsenals of the Chinese armed forces,” he said.
Lacson aired his disappointment over the President’s remarks, ending his tweet with signature line “Shamefully, Juan,” in reference to the counterpart Philippine symbol.
In December, the senator again called out Mr. Duterte for the latter’s “unfortunate” remarks against the United States, saying the VFA could not be continued if the United States did not give the Philippines its share of COVID-19 vaccines.
“I think there could be a more diplomatic, or at least a better way of asking a longtime ally to help us avail of the vaccines for our people without sounding like we are blackmailing our way into it,” Lacson had said then.