Palace reciprocates Trump’s admiration for Duterte: He loves him too
MANILA, Philippines—”I think he loves him too.”
This was the response of Malacañang spokesman Salvador Panelo Thursday on US President Donald Trump’s expression of admiration for President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a tweet Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. said Trump had told him that he “loves” Duterte whom he called, “Frank Sinatra.”
“You know who I mean?” “Uh.” I remembered—Duterte joined Pilita Corales in song at ASEAN. “I love that guy,” Locsin wrote.
At photo shoot w/ Pres. Trump & First Lady Melania, I shook his hand, he looked straight at me & said, "Say Hi to Frank Sinatra." Me stunned: "I admire you so much." He: "You know who I mean?" "Uh." I remembered—Duterte joined Pilita Corales in song at ASEAN. "I love that guy."
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) September 25, 2019
In 2017, Duterte sang during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) gala dinner at the Mall of Asia SMX Convention Center, granting the request of Trump.
Panelo claimed that the two leaders shared “mutual admiration” due to their similar leadership style.
“Let me tell you this, you know if you recall, the style of the President came much earlier than Trump. Before Trump, there was Duterte. We are all surprised that their style is the same. Of course, if you have the same style you will have a mutual admiration,” Panelo said, speaking partly in Filipino.
The two leaders, both known for their tough-talking persona, won their respective presidency with campaigns with populist fury against political elites and a spill of controversial remarks.
Then-US president Barack Obama was one of Duterte’s drug war critics, causing the Philippine leader to threaten to cut ties with the country’s longtime ally.
The two nation’s relationship recuperated under the presidency of Trump, whom Duterte regarded as his “friend.”
But Malacañang insisted that Duterte’s pivot to non-traditional Philippine allies Russia and China did not affect the longstanding Philippine-US relationship.
“The President has said that it does not mean that just because I am dealing with Russia and China, our relationship with US is broken, it is still there. As long as it is beneficial to us, we’ll always be open,” Panelo said. /jpv
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