Estrada fears Duterte’s anti-US talk might lead to ouster
Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has expressed fear that President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-American pronouncements might have “severe consequences,” including his possible removal from office.
In a statement on Saturday, Estrada said Duterte’s decision to realign the country’s foreign policy away from the United “might expose him to political risks such as the US moving to oust him from office.”
“’Yun ang pangamba ko, sa ‘kin nga ginawa, e (That was my fear, and it was done to me),” Estrada said in a statement, referring to his ouster in 2001 over corruption allegations dubbed “Edsa People Power 2.”
Estrada said the American government would always try to sway him into doing what they wanted when he was President, saying then US Defense Secretary William Cohen had asked him to stop military offensive when he was waging a war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2000.
“’Yung laban ko nu’n sa MILF, pinakialaman ako, pinatitigil ako,” he said. “When they suddenly removed me, pinabayaan nila MILF, kaya ‘yun, nagtuluy-tuloy pa rin sa pambobomba.”
(My fight then was with the MILF, they meddled and stopped me. When they suddenly removed me, they ignored the MILF; that’s why the bombing continued.)
Backing the President’s pivot to China, Estrada reiterated his support for Duterte’s “independent” foreign policy which was not dependent on the United States, saying the Western superpower should not meddle in the country’s internal affairs.
“’Di komo tinutulungan tayo ng US, papakialaman naman nila internal problema natin (Just because the US is helping us doesn’t mean they can meddle with our internal problems). We are a sovereign country. We have our own Constitution,” he added.
In his state visit in Beijing, Duterte announced his “separation” with the United States “both in the military and economics.” But the President later clarified that his remark did not mean severance of diplomatic ties with the United States as “it is to the best interest of the country that we maintain that relationship.” JE
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