Duterte invoking MDT is sarcastic remark: Panelo
Malacanang on Thursday said the latest statement of President Rodrigo Duterte on invoking the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty ( MDT) is a sarcastic remark.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was asked if Duterte’s statement invoking the MDT can be called a sarcastic remark.
“Still the same,” he said.
Panelo said the president knows he cannot invoke a treaty without any armed assault or attack against any of the parties involved in that treaty.
“He kept on saying that by way of putting into absurdity the criticism by the critics and detractors ? and challenging them that in the event of any armed attack and the treaty will be operational, then these critics and detractors which the President has named should go with him in defending the West Philippine Sea,” Panelo explained.
He said Duterte just wants to show the absurdity of critics' position that the government should be enforcing the arbitral ruling ''when the very effective method of getting whatever benefits we can achieve from the arbitral ruling could be gotten in the diplomatic negotiations.''
In an interview on Wednesday, Duterte said he is invoking the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines with the United States amid criticisms against him on how his administration has been handling the maritime dispute with China.
"I'm calling now America. I am invoking the RP-US pact, and I would like America to gather all their Seventh Fleet in front of China," he said.
"I am asking them (US) now and I will join them," Duterte said.
Duterte said he would "drag along" Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who are among those asking Duterte to fight for the country's claim in the West Philippine Sea, which is within the 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone. Ella Dionisio/DMS