Defense chief says Duterte didn’t consult Cabinet on cutting military exercises with US

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  • Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Pres. Rodrigo Duterte did not consult Cabinet officials in scrapping the Philippines’ joint military exercises with the United States
  • He noted that there is no final decision yet to suspend the military exercises next year
  • He was instructed to make a presentation to the Cabinet soon with regards to the status of military exercises, other agreements and treaties 

No-less than Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana revealed that President Rodrigo Duterte did not consult officials of his Cabinet before he made statements in scrapping the Philippines’ joint military exercises with the United States.

The disclosure was made during the Commission on Appointments (CA) panel hearing on Lorenzana’s ad interim appointment when Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon asked: “You cannot deny that we are also benefiting from this (PH-US joint exercises), so why should we terminate this?,” an article written by Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez on GMA News Online disclosed.

As such, Lorenzana replied: “Mr. Chair, I really don’t know because the President has been issuing statements without consulting the Cabinet,” as he added that there is no final decision yet to suspend the military exercises next year.

In stating this, Lorenzana noted that the Chief Executive instructed him to make a presentation to the Cabinet soon with regards to the status of military exercises as well as other agreements and treaties.

On the other hand,  Sen. Drilon said the President must consult his Cabinet members, whom he appointed to give him expert advice.

Earlier, the Defense secretary disclosed that the US “is still hoping” to conduct military exercise with the Philippines despite Duterte’s pronouncement that the recently concluded exercises with the US military will be the last under his term.

In stating this, the President had also expressed openness to war games with China and Russia.

Meanwhile, Drilon said that while he fully supports Duterte’s stand for the Philippines to pursue an independent foreign policy, there is no need to cut ties with the US, a long-term ally.

“It is to our national interest that we maintain our relationship with a longtime ally…We can pursue relationships with China and Russia without sacrificing our relationship with a long-term ally,” he was quoted saying.

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