Duterte, Obama shared handshake, ‘good conversation’—Cayetano
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday said the informal meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and US President Barack Obama went well as the two leaders shared a “warm handshake and a good conversation.”
Cayetano, who is part of the Philippine delegation to Laos, said “there is an effort from both sides to patch things up,” following the cancellation of their scheduled bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit.
“In diplomacy, you do not usually go to the past and say, ‘bakit nangyari ‘yun (why did that happen).’ You can’t blame anyone. It won’t be productive. The Philippines and the US have a longstanding partnership [and] relationship. There will be bumps along the way… But it won’t hurt to have a popular President on our side,” Cayetano said in a statement.
Palace officials said Duterte and Obama briefly met in holding room before proceeding to the banquet hall for a gala dinner at the regional summit on Wednesday.
Before leaving for Laos, Duterte said he will swear at Obama in the Asean summit if the US President would question him on human rights and extrajudicial killings.
Duterte’s expletive-laced remarks against Obama, for which he eventually expressed regret, prompted the White House to cancel the planned meeting between the two last Tuesday.
In an open letter, Cayetano earlier asked Obama to “give the Philippines and Duterte a chance,” amid the government’s relentless war on drugs and criminality.
“Does he (Duterte) not deserve to be judged on his record and his actions? On facts and not manipulated statistics? On where he wants to bring the country rather than his sometimes politically incorrect words?” the senator said. CDG/rga
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