Senators split on Duterte’s tirades vs US
Senators were split over President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades against the United States, one calling them “uncalled for” and “wrong on so many levels” while another described his tenacity in fighting for the country’s rights as “admirable.”
For Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Duterte’s “vulgar” language against US President Barack Obama was “wrong on so many levels” and would have “detrimental effects” on the country’s ties with the US.
“President Duterte’s vulgar language directed against President Obama is wrong on so many levels and will definitely have detrimental effects on our diplomatic relationship and alliance with the US,” Trillanes said in a text message.
“You don’t just slap the face of the most powerful country in the world and expect to get away with it. It was uncalled for and now our country’s security sector would be weakened because of it,” said Trillanes, who is part of the minority bloc in the Senate.
Despite Duterte’s statement against Obama, Senator Panfilo Lacson believes that the Philippines will remain one of the US’ strongest allies in the region.
“Although any statement spoken by a country’s leader is always construed as a policy statement, I don’t see any drastic change in the US-PH long standing friendly relations,” Lacson said in a separate text message to reporters.
“We will be one of the US’ strongest allies in the Asia Pacific region and it will stay that way. Presidents come after elections and go after their terms while alliances between countries remain especially between the US and the Philippines.”
Lacson expressed hope, however that Duterte would soon realize that “diplomacy is always part and parcel of a country’s foreign policy and being the country’s leader, he shapes that policy.”
Obama called off his scheduled meeting this Tuesday with Duterte, following the latter’s warning to Obama not to lecture him about human rights and extrajudicial killings in the country.
Neophyte Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said the cancellation of the meeting was a “missed opportunity” for the Philippines to strengthen its ties with an “important ally.”
“However, I support PRRD’s (Duterte’s initials) aggressive assertion of Philippine independence and supremacy in our internal affairs,” Gatchalian said.
“In a way, it is promising to see that our President is strong enough to rattle even the most powerful leader in the world. PRRD’s tenacity in fighting for our country’s rights is admirable,” he added.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said she was also saddened by the cancellation of the meeting between the two leaders, saying the Philippines could have used it as a platform “to clarify issues and policies crucial to the international community even as we safeguard our national integrity and independence from foreign powers.”
“Sayang (Too bad). I look forward to our government taking important measures to address this matter. I hope that there will be another opportunity for both leaders to meet and constructively exchange views in the future,” Hontiveros said. CDG/rga
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