Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement invoking the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) is a sarcasm. “Because he knows that you cannot invoke that treaty without any armed assault or attack against any of the parties in that treaty,” Panelo said.
He added that President Duterte “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.”
Presidential Spokesperson Panelo further explained that it is “to show the absurdity of their position that we should be aggressively 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.”
President Duterte said during a special episode of Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy’s nightly program Give Us This Day on July 16 that his critics “have been saying that there is a treaty between America and Philippines, RP-US pact, military pact, an attack of one is an attack of all, against all American forces.”
“But there is that condition and that is if there is a violent attack in our country. But they will not interfere in territorial controversy,” he added.
“Kaya sinabi ko I’m calling now, I’m calling America, I’m invoking the RP-US pact. I would like America to gather all their 7th Fleet in front of China. I’m asking them now and I will join them,” President Duterte said. “I will ride on the boat where admiral of the US but I will drag along Carpio and the rest.”
He added that if they reach the disputed territory he will request to have the honor of pressing the button.
“Maybe that would be the end of Palawan. Palawan will be devastated, maybe occupied, or if there will be nuclear bombs, we will dry up. So nothing will grow here, we can just wait, just like a big hole coming our way, to suck us to eternity and then we can sing the ‘Mona Lisa.’ They just lie there, and they die there,” Duterte said.