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Duterte keeping word to back cops in anti-drug drive — Lorenzana

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said yesterday that President Duterte’s threat to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States was a manifestation of his promise to take responsibility for the repercussions of his anti-illegal drugs campaign.

Duterte had earlier warned Washington that he would scrap the VFA if they do not rectify the cancellation of Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s US visa within a month.

“I’m warning you, this is the first time. ‘Pag hindi ninyo ginawa ang correction diyan, one, I will terminate the bases Visiting Forces Agreement. Tapusin ko ‘yang p****g **a,” he said.

“I’m giving notice and they begin to count. I’m giving the government and the American government one month from now, we’ll speak and I’ll kick them out,” he added.

“No more bases, they have to start to talk to us because they have to go. Bastos eh.”

Dela Rosa has confirmed that his US visa was indeed cancelled by the US. The Philippine National Police chief from 2016 to 2018 said it could be because of his role in the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign.

Lorenzana said he understands why Duterte was peeved by the cancellation of the US visa of Dela Rosa, one of the President’s closest and most trusted allies, because of alleged extrajudicial killings in connection with the drug war.

“It is a direct affront to PRRD being the architect of the drug war that he started upon his assumption of office,” Lorenzana stated.

“He ordered Bato, then the newly installed chief PNP, to launch the drug war and enjoined the entire PNP to do their duties and pledged to back them up. That he would take responsibility for their official actions. That he would go to prison for them. He is just being true to his promise,” the Defense chief added.

Lorenzana has yet to respond to queries if the VFA termination could be a justified retaliation of Duterte to the cancellation of Dela Rosa’s US visa.

He, however, said: “The ball is in the US hand. Let’s see how they react to PRRD’s statement.” (Martin Sadongdong and Argyll Geducos)