Thursday, May 24, 2018
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ON PRESIDENT'S THREAT TO ABROGATE VFA

De Lima to Duterte: Stop turning foreign relations into ‘grudge match’

Senator Leila de Lima (left) and President Rodrigo Duterte  JOAN BONDOC / INQUIRER FILE

Senator Leila de Lima (left) and President Rodrigo Duterte JOAN BONDOC / INQUIRER FILE

Sen. Leila de Lima slammed on Sunday President Duterte for turning into a “grudge match” the country’s foreign relations as she said the decision to abrogate the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) should be made with “cool heads.”

“I hope that the President is thinking clearly and level-headedly when he threatens to make drastic changes to our foreign relations and national defense policies,” De Lima said in a statement.

She also hoped the President understands “the difference between the Philippines pursuing an independent foreign policy, and the Philippines being forced to reformulate its foreign policy in order to serve the President’s ego and accommodate his need to throw a tantrum whenever he doesn’t get his way.”

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“The first serves the nation’s interest. The latter does not. Whether the VFA should be canceled is a matter that should be decided with cool heads. More importantly, it should not be decided precipitously or carelessly without any clear alternatives, precisely because of what the President calls ‘the changing politics’ in the West Philippine Sea,” she said.

De Lima said Mr. Duterte “might be throwing us out of the pan and into the fire” aa she noted “the Filipino people’s lives, well-being, security and even our very sovereignty” were at stake here.

“I hope he doesn’t sacrifice those interests as easily as he sacrifices the lives of the people who are being killed on a daily basis because of his so-called ‘war on drugs,’” she added.

The senator said the President need to stop turning foreign relations and diplomacy into a grudge match, “where the Filipino’s welfare is just a pawn for him to sacrifice.”

“He accuses the US of treating the Philippines like a doormat. If imploring our government to respect the rule of law and uphold the human rights and civil liberties of its people is treating the Philippines like a doormat – I would welcome that over our own so-called leaders treating us like bugs to be crushed,” De Lima said.

And apparently referring to China, she said she would also welcome it over “chasing after an alliance with a country that has made profits over flooding our streets with their illegal drugs.” JE

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TAGS: Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, foreign relations, Leila de Lima, Rodrigo Duterte, ties, VFA, Visiting Forces Agreement
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