Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday disputed claims of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano anew regarding the supposed order of President Rodrigo Duterte to halt patrols in the West Philippine Sea, as he maintained that the Philippine Army conducts regular patrols in the area.
“Nagpapatrol and Navy, nagpapatrol ang Coast Guard, nagpapatrol din ang Air Force, kumpleto ‘yon. Kaya nga ang sabi ko kay Cong. Alejano and Senator Trillanes, talk is cheap,” he said in an interview over CNN Philippines.
On Thursday, Cayetano accused the two lawmakers of using the issue for political gains.
He said it’s a given fact that Navy ships and coast guards have a regular presence in the area since their role is not only to guard the Philippine territory but also to assist Filipino fishermen in emergency cases, and fend off smuggling and threats of terrorism.
“I myself, I saw the pictures and the reports sa mga latest patrols. So, what I’m 100 percent sure is kasinungalingan ang sinasabi sa inyo ni Congressman Alejano,” he said.
Cayetano scored the two as “very irresponsible” officials by claiming that there are no Philippine patrols in the disputed waters.
Cayetano said by doing so, the two have not only endangered the country’s security but also its standing in the territorial dispute with China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan. PNA