Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jul 2016
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer (Philippines)
Copyright: 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer
Author: Marlon Ramos


THE PHILIPPINES may be heading toward another collision course with 
China-possibly over President Duterte's war on drugs.

Barely a week after the Philippines won a favorable ruling from an 
international court in its maritime claims over the West Philippine 
Sea, Mr. Duterte over the weekend said he would confront the Chinese 
government regarding the country's problem on illegal drugs.

"One day, I will ask China: Why is the situation like this? I won't 
say why are you sending them, but why is it that most of the guys who 
come here do drugs, even inside jail?" the President said in a 
private gathering in Malacanang on Sunday night.

"There will always be a time for reckoning," he warned. "But when I 
come face to face with them, you listen. I will really tell them all 
my gripes."

But the President, who hosted a fellowship dinner for his fellow 
alumni from San Beda College of Law, said taking up the matter with 
China may have to wait due to a "bigger issue."

He was apparently referring to the country's territorial dispute with 
China over the resource-rich West Philippine Sea, which the Permanent 
Court of Arbitration ruled was within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

The two countries have locked horns regarding their overlapping 
ownership claims over the region, believed to be abundant in natural 
gas, oil reserves and marine resources.

"(I will do it) at the proper time and not now because, let's just 
say, (there's a) bigger issue. I will observe restraint for the 
meantime," Mr. Duterte said in a mix of English and Filipino.

The President also claimed that most of those who were killed in 
drug-related murders were actually Chinese nationals.

"The bodies of those who died here that remain unclaimed, who will 
claim them? Most of them really are Chinese. That's why that's my 
lamentation," he said.

He also noted that the four men who were arrested on a fishing 
vessel, which the police raided off Subic, Zambales province, last 
week for allegedly manufacturing "shabu" (methamphetamine 
hydrochloride), were all Chinese.

On July 7, the President said two of the country's biggest drug 
lords, a certain Peter Lim and Peter Co, were of Chinese ancestry.

Lim, a prominent Chinese-Filipino businessman from Cebu province, 
sought an audience with the President in Davao on Friday night after 
the latter threatened to kill him.

Mr. Duterte, however, let the alleged leader of the Triad gang leave 
unscathed, instructing him to just make himself available for investigation.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom