Palace: Duterte can work with any US president

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte | Malacañang photo by Simeon Celi

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte can work with his counterpart in the United States regardless of who wins the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Malacañang maintained.

“Kahit sino po ang manalo, wala pong problema ang ating Presidente (It does not matter who win. It won’t be a problem for our president),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated on Thursday, November 5.

“We can work with any president because we have had a long history of very close friendship with the United States,” he added.

Roque previously said Philippine-U.S. bilateral relations will not see any major changes no matter the result of the election.

“You see the (U.S.) State Department ensures continuity as far as U.S. foreign policy is concerned. So we don’t expect any major changes in bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United States,” he told CNN Philippines’ “The Source.”

He acknowledged the friendship between President Rodrigo Duterte and U.S. President Donald Trump, but expressed confidence that the president can foster friendly relations with Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

“Of course, there is an issue of personal relations but I think given time the President can establish equally warm personal relations with whoever wins this election even [if] itâ’s not President Trump,” Roque said.

“And even if there is a new President, I am not saying that there will be, but in case there is a new President in the United States in the person of Senator Biden, I am confident that the President can also develop a close personal friendship with Mr. Biden. May the best man win as of now,” he added.

Roque meanwhile hoped that the Philippines’ own presidential elections in 2020 would be as peaceful as the one in the U.S.

“Ang obserbasyon ng Palasyo, sana po matutunan din nating magkaroon ng eleksyon na walang nasasaktan, walang namamatay (From what the Palace observed, we hope that we will learn how to have an election where no one dies or gets hurt),” he said.

“Sana po sa eleksyon natin ganoon din — na mapayapa at mahinahon ang lahat (We hope we will have the same in our polls — peaceful and calm voters),” Roque added.

Still a ‘win’ for PH
Political analyst Malou Tiquia maintained the outcome would still be a “win” for the Philippines,

“I think it is a ‘win-win’ (situation for us) because (former) vice president (Joe) Biden is not really left of center. He’s a centrist,” Tiquia told The Chiefs on One News.

“He reaches out both to the Republicans and Democrats,” she added.

However, Tiquia said that fostering ties with Biden would be “challenging,” referencing Duterte’s tirades against former U.S. President Barack Obama. (Biden served as vice president for both terms).

Meanwhile, Noelle Malvar-Morcos, a senior researcher at New York-based research firm More in Common, pointed out that Biden has a stricter foreign policy in China compared to Trump.

“(Trump’s) actions and dealings with the president of China is not as tough and not reflective of what he is saying,” she said in Filipino.

“Biden has stricter policy. I do not know if voters including Filipino Americans are aware of such nuances wherein one says something in public and do something in private and in terms of policy,” she added.

Security Rommel Banlaoi, in a separate statement, said there would be more flexibility in the U.S.’s foreign policy toward the Philippines should Biden win.

“There will be more room for settling of political differences under Biden. But under Donald Trump, it will be a difficult period again for China and will be a difficult period for the Philippines because we need to balance our relationship with the United States and China,” he said.

Philippine senators likewise believed the election outcome will not change much.

“The U.S. has many problems too. It will have to ‘fix’ itself first. The Philippines just has to continue with our ‘independent foreign policy’ welcoming and treating all States as friends,” said Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III.

Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Tolentino said whoever wins the U.S. presidential race “would consider not just our historic bilateral relations but the regional security and trade relations as well.”

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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