Goldberg : Don’t know where CIA talk coming from
US Ambassador Philip Goldberg has denied President Duterte’s claim the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was plotting to oust or assassinate him.
“No, those kinds of statements are not correct, not true,” Goldberg told Inquirer.net in an interview at the recent ARMM Health Forum in Pasay City.
“We’re friends of the Philippines. We’re allies of the Philippines. We respect democracy in the Philippines,” he said.
In his working visit to Vietnam last month, President Duterte said the CIA, a civilian foreign intelligence service of the United States federal government, was plotting to oust him.
“Sabi nila. Paplano-plano raw ang CIA na patayin ako. Susmaryosep, ginoo (They say there is a plan by the CIA to kill me. Good lord.),” Mr. Duterte told the Filipino community in Hanoi.
Mr. Duterte also recently dared US President Barack Obama to use the CIA to oust him.
“You want to oust me? You want to use the CIA? Go ahead. I said I put at stake my honor, my life and the presidency. What happens to me is really a part of my destiny. If I am ousted, then that is part of my presidency,” Duterte said in a speech in Davao City.
But Goldberg stressed the President’s remarks had no basis.
“I don’t know what that is about, quite frankly. But I’ll leave it at that. It has no foundation,” he said.
A change in administration in the US will not affect Philippine-US relations, he said.
Goldberg, who is about to complete his Manila posting in two weeks, expressed the hope the two countries would remain “good friends and allies.”
“Our commitment with the Philippines is clear. We have been good allies, we will remain good allies. I think whatever government is in the United States, it will value the Philippines as an ally and friend,” the ambassador said.
Mr. Duterte exhibited a tough stance against the United States, threatening to pull the plug on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and joint patrols in the South China Sea.
The President also repeatedly has said the Philippines will adopt an “independent” foreign policy and forge alliances with China and Russia.
Mr. Duterte is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
But Goldberg, who was the target of repeated personal attacks by Mr. Duterte, maintained that Manila’s and Washington’s relationship would remain strong.
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