President Rodrigo Duterte claimed the United States started a weapons build-up in the Philippines.
He made the statement during a midnight conference on Sunday in Malacañang, accusing the US of sending arms to three provinces.
“They are unloading arms in the Philippines now – in Palawan, Cagayan de Oro, and Pampanga,” Duterte said.
Duterte has asked the US Armed Forces to halt the activity.
“I am serving notice to the United States Armed Forces. I will not allow it. Bawal e. It is not allowed,” he added.
Duterte further said that such an activity is prohibited in the treaty and threatened to “abrogate the treaty altogether.”
He also said that the US should stop involving the Philippines in the hostilities between America and China.
However, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla bellied Duterte’s claim about the American forces unloading arms in Palawan, Cagayan de Oro, and Pampanga, adding that the President may have read old information pertaining to past military exercises.
“The President’s announcement last night I think was checked by the Armed Forces and it was found out that there was no confirmed incident of this nature. Base po sa sinabi at naibigay sa aming report, wala naman pong ganyang report na nakuha sa mga lugar na ito at maaring ito ay report pa nung mga exercises noong mga nakaraang taon,” Padilla said.
“Noong nagkaroon tayo ng mga exercises na pangmalakihan noong mga nakaraang taon, authorized silang magbaba ng kanilang tangke diyan sa Subic Bay para gamitin sa exercises so it might have been borne out of those reports and we’re still checking how it came to be,” he added.
According to Padilla, the 2014 Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) gave US forces the permission to build facilities in some military installations, which will be helpful for the country’s preparedness in dealing with humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) situations.
“Kaya kung may ilalagay man na warehouse o mga pagtataguan ng mga bagay na kagamitan o anumang bagay, lahat ng ilalagay po diyan ay pwedeng gamitin sa mga HADR situation o pagtugon sa mga sakuna,” Padilla said.
The AFP spokesperson even enumerated the equipment that may be kept in the military installations, which include generators, rubber boats, vehicles, water purifiers, and shelter materials.
There are also fuel storage facilities, where troops can refuel during relief and rescue operations.
But Malacañang also issued a statement standing by Duterte’s earlier claim.
Presidential spokesman Secretary Ernesto Abella said that the president could have gotten his information about the US’ alleged unloading of arms in some provinces.
“If your question is where he got the information, I cannot tell you that. But he seems to be privy to some sort of information,” Abella told the media during a news briefing at the Palace.
Abella, though, could not confirm whether the President was referring to the facilities that the US planned on building at Philippine bases, as what was announced by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Lorenzana earlier said that under EDCA, the Pentagon said that they will start putting up facilities in certain EDCA camps, the first of which could be in Pampanga, with other facilities possibly constructed in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu, Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro City, and the Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan.
President Duterte was said to have known about this planned construction of US facilities.
But Abella said that Duterte could have been thinking ahead, issuing a warning about how depots are now allowed to be built under EDCA.
“If you go back to the transcript I think, I think it does make clear that he was saying that he will not allow if there is any downloading of arms. And he would also not allow the building of depots, so – which would be tantamount to building a permanent structure which are not allowed under EDCA,” Abella said.
But as GMA News Online has noted, President Duterte’s accusations against the American forces in the country showed that he was referring to an ongoing activity, not an anticipated one.
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Pimentel sees dismissal of ICC complaint versus Duterte
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said on Friday that the charges against President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court (ICC) will likely be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
“I believe that simply is the procedure in the ICC – they give every complainant an initial chance to survive (sic),” Pimentel said in a message sent to reporters last Friday.
He added that he believes that after the initial interview, the complaint will be dismissed in just a matter of time. He says that it will be dismissed because of lack of jurisdiction.
The ICC has informed the Philippine government that it will be conducting a preliminary examination on the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the Duterte administration to see if there is a basis to conduct a formal investigation into alleged crimes against humanity that the president allegedly committed.
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that the preliminary examination that will be conducted will analyze the crimes allegedly committed in the Philippines in the context of the anti-drug campaign of the government from July 1, 2016.
She also clarified that a preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process to examine the information available and determine if there is reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation in accordance to the criteria established by the Rome Statute.
The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the ICC. It was signed by 123 states, including the Philippines.
The ICC has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
Pimentel, a Duterte ally, doubted that what happened in the Philippines under the president’s war on drugs falls under serious and grave crimes.
“Look at the crimes under the ICC’s jurisdiction. Do you honestly believe what has happened here in the Philippines falls under any of those very serious and grave crimes? Honestly?” he asked.
Watch how artists’ group teaches Filipinos about their rights during TokHang
Resbak, an alliance of artists, posted an almost six-minute video on their Facebook page about what you should do when you are dealing with the police during Operation TokHang. With over 7,000 deaths, the group wanted to educate the Filipinos about what to do when they suddenly find themselves the subject of TokHang. They easily abbreviates these eight fundamental rights into M.A.T.A.P.A.N.G.
- M for Manahimik. You can choose to keep quiet and not answer the cops’ questions during interrogations.
- A for Ayoko. You don’t really need to grant the cops entry into your home if they say they want to search your home for illegal drugs.
- T for Tumawag. You can call your lawyer and avail of his services even if you don’t have money to pay for it.
- A for Alis. You can leave if the cops cannot provide enough basis to keep you in the police station.
- P for Pribado. You should only be frisked for illegal items in a private place and only cops of the same sex should do it.
- A for Alamin. You have the right to know the name and rank of the cop in charge of the operation.
- N for Numero. You can call Resbak at 0956 874 2385 if you or someone’s rights got violated under TokHang.
- G for Go. You go and follow the rules indicated above.
You can watch the video below, which was done as a spoof of the recently concluded Miss Universe 2017.
Are you in DCW’s list? Here are tips on how to remove your name from that list and more
If you find your name in Duterte Cyber Warrior’s “Wall of Shame,” which may make you a target of cyber threats, such as identity theft and other kinds of attacks, you can do something about it.
Facebook user Khary Woulfe posted some tips on how you can hit back at the group’s threats.
He also referred netizens to a safer version of the list, similar to the one posted by the Superficial Gazette. You can access it here.
As for taking your name, Woulfe suggested these tips:
- Verify your Facebook with your phone number. This is required to change your FB username.
- Change your username everyday (or more frequent than that.) The Messenger change username option is the fastest way to do so. (Otherwise, go to https://facebook.com/username if you’re on computer or on web version of Facebook.)
This way, your old Facebook address included on their lists will point instead to a 404 (Page Not Found) page.
“However, if you haven’t provided your username beforehand and your link has been listed as https://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000xxxx, the link would still point to your profile right after changing your username. If this is your case, it is better to deactivate your account for the mean time,” he added.
Woulfe also gave tips on how to take down the website hosting DCW’s list.
Here are the steps:
- Go to https://www.cloudflare.com/abuse/form and select Violent Threats.
- Fill in Full name with any name that isn’t your true name.
- Fill in your email address.
- Fill in Evidence URL with https://profile.du30cw.org/wos.
- Fill in Logs with:
The link provided points to a website hosted on CloudFlare. The “Wall of Shame” is actually a list of Facebook profiles with links pointing to profiles that they are going to steal infos and photos. They also send death threats and other forms of black mails. I believe such kind of activity is illegal. My family and friends are included in the list. Please don’t allow your services to be instrumental to such kind of illegal activites. Thank you.
- Click Submit.
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