'Why don't we focus on West PH Sea?' Villanueva says UP-DND accord abrogation 'bad optics'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2021 02:37 PM

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Sen. Joel Villanueva on Friday urged the country's Armed Forces to focus on other pressing issues such as China's encroachment of the West Philippine Sea and extrajudicial killings in the country instead of the abrogation of the UP-DND accord.


Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Villanueva said he does not agree with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana's statement that the University of the Philippines has become a haven for recruitment by the Communist Party of the Philippines. 

"I think it’s giving a wrong signal. The optics I would say is not good. Parang in the midst of the pandemic, ito 'yung issue natin," he said.

He added: "I think we have so much problems. When we talk about priority and focus, why don't we focus on the West Philippine Sea?"

Other problems that need prioritization, he said, include extrajudicial killings and the culture of impunity in law enforcement. 

Villanueva said security forces cannot be dissuaded from arresting law breakers during hot pursuit operations. 

He urged Lorenzana to talk with UP President Danilo Concepcion about keeping the accord, saying there is no good reason to abrogate it. "I don't see a good reason why soldiers and scholars won't have this harmonious relationship," he said.