DAVAO CITY – President Duterte said yesterday Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to provide 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippines if the deal with the United States falls through.
But the President was quick to point out that the arms deal with the American firm should proceed because it was in the final stages of negotiation and the transaction must be honored by both parties.
“Russia offered the sale of the firearms at very soft terms, payable in 25 years and could even be extended for another 25 or at least five years,” the President told reporters during a visit to his parents’ tomb at the Wireless Public Cemetery before dawn yesterday.
“He (Putin) said, if you cannot buy arms anywhere, go to me. You buy one then take one for free. So I get double,” the President said.
The President went straight to the cemetery after arriving from New Zealand where he had an overnight stay before coming home from Peru to attend the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. He opted to travel to Lima via Auckland rather than the US.
In his arrival speech at the Davao International Airport Wednesday night, the President had a different take: the transaction with the US must be reviewed following the statement of American senator Ben Cardin that he would oppose the deal as the arms might used for “extrajudicial killings.” – Edith Regalado, Giovanni Nilles