President Rodrigo Duterte has given his go-signal for the procurement of 26,000 assault rifles from the United States which he earlier ordered canceled, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said Monday.
Dela Rosa said he discussed the matter with Duterte during their trip to Malaysia last week.
“Actually I talked to him personally during our trip to Malaysia tungkol diyan. We reported to him that the processing of documents is going on smoothly according to Sig Sauer, wala silang nakitang harang doon, hindi po naharang,” he said in a press conference.
Duterte earlier ordered the cancellation of the procurement after a wire agency reported that the US State Department stopped the sale when US Senator Ben Cardin opposed it because of concerns about human rights violations in connection with the war on illegal drugs.
But Sig Sauer, in a letter to the PNP, said their application with the US State Department was being processed as normal.
“When I explained that to him, sabi niya OK you continue. Ipagpatuloy n’yo yan kasi wala naman palang hinarang,” Dela Rosa said.
“As far as PNP is concerned, we have the blessing from the President to continue with the transaction kung walang harang, kung hindi maharang,” he added.
He said if the transaction will really be stopped by the US State Department, Duterte will again order him to cancel it.
“Pero kung harangin nila, I’m sure the President will again tell me to stop it. Kasi para naman tayong kawawa na hinaharang tapos kinakausap, magmamakaawa e hindi po yan pupwede sa atin,” he said.
He said the Philippine government will be paying for the firearms so it would not be fair for the country to be treated shabbily.
“Binabayaran namin ito, hindi naman namin ito hinihingi, binabayaran namin ito so we should get fair and equal treatment dahil this is business. Hindi naman ito grant, hindi naman ito aid na kailangan naming hingin. Business ito so kailangang pantay pantay tayo,” he said. — RSJ, GMA News