Bello says Obama now a lame-duck President
NOT TO WORRY about US President Barack Obama—he’s a “lame duck.”
In a press conference on Tuesday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he understood President Duterte’s possible reasons for his predeparture remarks in Davao City on Monday against Obama.
“I thought the President is bright. Why did he do that? Maybe, he remembered that President Obama is already a lame-duck president. In a few months, he will leave his office,” Bello said.
“I think he is more concerned about the welfare of Filipino workers than establishing a strong relation with an outgoing president,” he said when asked if Mr. Duterte’s statement would have any effect on Filipino workers in the United States, or on American investments in the Philippines.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) attempted damage control, asserting that Mr. Duterte looked forward to “ironing out differences” with Obama.
“President Duterte explained that the press reports that President Obama would ‘lecture’ him on extrajudicial killings led to his strong comments, which in turn elicited concern. He regrets that his remarks to the press have caused much controversy,” a DFA statement said on Tuesday.
The department said Mr. Duterte was asserting his intent to chart an independent foreign policy and promote closer ties with all nations. “He expressed his deep regard and affinity for President Obama and for the enduring partnership between our nations.”
In response, Obama canceled the scheduled meeting of the two leaders on the sidelines of the Asean summit in Vientiane.
“Both delegations, however, have agreed that in the light of the issues that still need to be worked on, the bilateral meeting between the two nations will be postponed to a later date,” the DFA said, without giving details.
“The President looks forward to ironing out differences arising out of national priorities and perceptions, and working in mutually responsible ways for both countries,” it said.
Addressing international concerns in the Philippines’ war against illegal drugs, the DFA said Mr. Duterte was mindful of securing and preserving the rights and liberties of our people.
“It is imperative that the fight against illegal drugs, terrorist, crimes and poverty must be won in order to preserve the principle and values upon which our democratic way of life is anchored,” it said.
Former Philippine representative to United Nations Lauro Baja Jr. said Mr. Duterte needed to learn “the art of diplomacy,” pointing out a meeting with Obama could bring “positive intangibles of goodwill, understanding and friendship.”
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