Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Sunday insisted that there were no inconsistencies or contradictions in the statements made by different Cabinet members regarding President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States.
Panelo announced on Friday that the president had ordered Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to tell Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin to send the Philippines’ notice of termination to the United States government.
The following day, however, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Duterte had not yet officially issued such a directive.
"This is fake news. Sec. Locsin has not [seen] the order yet," Lorenzana told reporters.
Panelo pointed out that he never told the media that Duterte had already issued the directive to Medialdea.
“This, however, does not mean that the information I shared with the media on the President's decision with regard to the VFA is inaccurate or untrue. It simply means that the Executive Secretary has yet to receive the directive from the President,” the spokesperson argued.
Panelo also belied reports claiming that there were disagreements within the Cabinet over the VFA's termination, stressing that they were “always in unison with respect to the policies enunciated by the President.”
Duterte had sought the termination of the VFA after the US canceled Senator Ronald Dela Rosa’s visa, reportedly over his involvement in the bloody war on drugs. — Julia Mari Ornedo/DVM, GMA News