February 25, 2018, 6:07 am
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Duterte’s allies cry diversion vs Trudeau

SENATORS allied with President Duterte yesterday criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for raising the extrajudicial killings issue to President Duterte, which they said was part of a diversionary tactic for Canada’s failure to fulfill its promise to take back its garbage which was dumped in the Philippines.

Senate majority leader Vicente Sotto, Sens. Cynthia Villar and Gregorio Honasan reminded Trudeau that he had promised Filipinos in 2015, his first visit in Manila for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, that a “Canadian solution was being developed.”

Sotto said Trudeau, in bringing up the issues of human rights and EJKs in his meeting with President Duterte, was trying to camouflage the garbage issue.

“I think it’s a diversionary tactic so that the issue of the garbage will not be discussed, not be highlighted, that they do not want to take back their garbage,” he said.

About 2,500 tons of toxic garbage, all sourced from the Vancouver area, was shipped to Manila in early 2013 by Ontario’s Chronic Inc.

Although the containers were labeled “scrap plastic materials for recycling,” the Bureau of Customs reported finding the containers stuffed with rotting household waste and soggy paper.

Sotto pointed out that superpowers like the US and China, and even the European Union, did not raise the issue on human rights “because they feel that it’s a local problem.”

Sen. Cynthia Villar, for her part, said Trudeau’s remark on the garbage issue was just a “gimmick.”

“Just get the trash back. He has a lot of gimmicks. Their country is so rich, why don’t they just get the garbage back? It’s a very small issue but he wasn’t able to commit,” Villar said.

The senator was apparently referring to Trudeau’s activity-stacked visit in the Philippines that included riding an electric jeepney and the much-hyped visit at Jollibee. Trudeau also had a “pop star welcome” during his arrival at the Clark International Airport.

Honasan, for his part, called for “mutual respect” and appealed not to single out the Philippines on EJKs.

“What’s your definition of EJK? Did you see what happened in the US? What would you call that massacre in Las Vegas? Let’s just be fair. And even diplomatically let’s give each other some measure of mutual respect. Let’s not be too judgmental because if we consider killings outside the rule of law… then we do not have a monopoly of that. Other countries have done worse. In fact other countries invented EJKs. Let’s not be too harsh on ourselves,” Honasan said.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said only Trudeau “expressly raised the issue of human rights.”

Roque reiterated that Duterte has already said several times that he will not tolerate others states interfering “in what the President perceives as purely domestic affairs.”

This developed as Roque said Malacañang welcomed Washington’s announcement of a $2-million aid to support Duterte’s drug war.

“Sana sinabi na ‘yan ni President Trump doon sa bilateral nila ‘no, eh di tuwang-tuwa sana si Presidente,” he said. 

“That proves without doubt that the US President supports the war on drugs. Why would he otherwise give two million dollars to this cause if he thinks it’s not being implemented correctly?” he added.

Also included in the grant is an $85-million fund for counter terrorism-related equipment and training and support for the Philippines’ armed forces, and $14.3 million for the fast recovery and rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City.

Duterte during the bilateral meeting talked of his anti-illegal drugs campaign, which Trump acknowledged.  – With Jocelyn Montemayor
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