Philippines president cancels police rifle deal with US

Philippines president cancels police rifle deal with US
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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday canceled a purchase of police rifles from the U.S. after Senate aides said Washington was halting the sale over human rights concerns.  

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"We will not insist on buying expensive arms from the United States. We can always get them somewhere else. I am ordering the police to cancel it. We don't need them," Duterte said in a televised speech at an event attended by Muslim rebel leaders, according to Reuters.

"We will just have to look for another source that is cheaper and maybe as durable and as good as those made in the place we are ordering them," he added.

Last month, Senate aides told Reuters that the U.S. State Department halted the planned sale of some 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippines's national police, after Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCongress eyes tighter restrictions on next round of small business help Senate passes extension of application deadline for PPP small-business loans 1,700 troops will support Trump 'Salute to America' celebrations July 4: Pentagon MORE (D-Md.) said he would oppose it over human rights concerns. Cardin is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

The relationship between the U.S. and its longtime Asian ally has hit a rocky path under Duterte, who assumed office in June. His violent efforts to crack down on drugs have left thousands dead. 

The 71-year-old president has lashed out against the U.S. and President Obama and recently announced his country's "separation" from the U.S. in favor of a pivot toward China, the regional superpower. 

Duterte has said in the past that Russia and China had shown willingness to sell arms to the Philippines.