Duterte scraps gun deal with U.S.

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President Rodrigo Duterte has said Russia could be a source of the needed weapons.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo put a period to the issue of an arms deal with a United States supplier on Monday when he announced that he was cancelling the 26,000-assault rifle purchase by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In a speech during the oath-taking of new officers of the National Press Club at Malacañang, Duterte said the government can just get the weapons from another source that would be "cheaper, and maybe, as durable and as good."

"So kalimutan na nila [Forget it], it (rifles) should be arriving July 2017. I am ordering the police to cancel it," he said. In an interview with reporters when he visited his parents' tombs during All Saints' Day, Duterte had mentioned Russia as an alternative source of weapons.

Related: PNP to find other suppliers after report of halted U.S. rifle sale

At the Palace, the President said he saw no reason to "hurry" in buying the guns which would only be used to kill Filipinos. He said he would rather use the money elsewhere.

"Let us just have a moratorium on violence. And we can use the money on some other endeavor, like the reinvigorated Bangsamoro Transition Committee."

Last week, PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa said he would have wanted for the deal to push through since the rifles would be a big help against crime and counter-terrrorism efforts.

Dela Rosa even said he would try to plead with the American supplier to proceed with the delivery — if President Duterte would allow him to do so.

The issue on the supposed "halted" arms deal came up after a report said a U.S. senator was against the sale due to human rights concerns in the Philippines.

Later, Dela Rosa announced that the gun contract had not been terminated and was undergoing process for eventual delivery next year.