Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Friday dismissed talk he attempted to sway US lawmakers into convincing President Donald Trump to drop his visit to Manila next month.
While confirming that he met with senior US politicians, including Sen. Marco Rubio, during his recent visit to the United States, Trillanes said he only presented facts about the corruption and human rights situation in the Philippines.
Trump is among world leaders expected to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit here next month.
“To be clear, I did not try to stop the state visit of President Trump since these things are carefully planned and cannot be stopped on the mere say-so of a Philippine senator,” said Trillanes in a statement on Friday.
On Thursday, Malacañang expressed hope that Trillanes had shared accurate information with Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida who had raised concerns over the bloody war on drugs in the Philippines.
Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had also accused Trillanes of campaigning against the Duterte administration among US lawmakers.
Responding to the allegations, Trillanes said discussions with Rubio revolved around enhancing US-Philippines relations, as well as corruption and human rights issues in the country.
In May, Rubio and Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland cosponsored a bill in the US Senate seeking to restrict the supply of firearms and other equipment to the Philippine National Police amid concerns over extrajudicial killings in the Duterte administration’s drug war.
The two senators also blocked the sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the PNP.
“Unlike the officials of the Duterte administration, I presented only factual information [to the US legislators],” said Trillanes. “Besides, you cannot fool the US government. They know what’s happening in our country.
He insisted that he only “pushed for the interests of our country.”
“But let me emphasize that the interests of our country are not necessarily the same as the interests of Mr. Duterte,” he added.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said Trillanes had informed him of his trip to the US but hoped that the latter was not “wishing or working” for “bad relations” between the Philippines and other countries like the US and the members of the European Union.
“If we love our country, we should always promote our beloved country’s best interests,” said Pimentel.