Russia has offered to sell rifles to the Philippines at an apparent bargain after a United States senator questioned the country’s planned purchase of guns from America, according to President Duterte who is seeking more robust ties with Moscow.
Mr. Duterte had met with Russian President Vladimir Putin made at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru.
The Philippines’ planned purchase of assault rifles from the United States has been put under review after Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin questioned the sale amid concerns over human rights violations.
Mr. Duterte said the Philippines would explore other potential transactions that offer “better deals and more advantageous terms.”
Putin had offered to sell guns to the Philippines, he said.
“If the Senate—I forgot, Cardin?—does not want to sell rifles to us, Putin said that you can have, I’ll give you, buy one and take one. Almost like that,” he said in a press briefing upon arrival from Peru and New Zealand.
“He said, ‘If you cannot buy arms anywhere, you go to me,’” he added.
Upon arrival Wednesday night in Davao, Duterte said he did not discuss any arms deal with Putin during their meeting in Peru.
The President, who bristles at criticism of his antidrug war and the killings that have marked it, said he sees no reason to “belabor the point” with Cardin.
There are other countries the Philippines can ask for help, he said. But he added that a country should not deprive an ally of key equipment.
Mr. Duterte also said he welcomes the invitation of Putin, his “idol,” to Russia.
In preparation for this, he asked Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to undertake an advance visit to Russia “soonest” in order to firm up a substantive agenda with Moscow.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.