‘White House smart enough to know what Duterte means’
The White House is “smart enough” to weigh in on the verbal attacks of President Rodrigo Duterte against the United States, a businessman and economic expert said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Duterte launched fresh tirades against US President Barack Obama, saying he could “go to hell.”
“It’s his manner of speaking, right? It’s his expressionism. He doesn’t mean for Obama to go to hell, right? It’s just the way he talks, right?” Peter Wallace told reporters in a Palace briefing.
“I’m not sure that the foreign community will ever be able to understand it but I think people in the US government will, right? I think the people in the White House are smart enough to know that what he’s saying is not what he intends,” he added.
Wallace, an Inquirer columnist, believes Duterte only wanted an “equal partnership” with its allies.
“I don’t see him as trying to divorce himself from America. That would make no sense, right? He’s just trying to establish an equal partnership and that’s a different thing,” he said.
READ: Action, not words
The businessman said the public should not take Duterte’s words literally.
“The way he talks is not the way in which he thinks,” he said.
Wallace said the President only wanted to be “a truly independent country.”
“He’s trying I think to establish that the Philippines is a truly independent country. It is no longer a colony of the US. It is no longer subservient in any way to the US. It wants its independence and in a fairly dramatic way that he’s trying to put that across, right?” he said.
In the same press briefing, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the government’s independent foreign policy also meant that Duterte wanted an “equal footing” with other countries.
“He wants the Philippines to be on equal footing with others whether they are big or not. He wants just an equal footing,” Abella said.
“It is basically expressing an independent foreign policy that it is not exclusive—that it is inclusive. That we are not to be held down by just one treaty,” he added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.