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HEADLINES NEWS THIS PAST WEEK...
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

PULSE ASIA: RODY's TRUST RATING SLIGHTLY DECLINES, REMAINS HIGH AT 86%[RELATED by Ramon Tulfo: FVR’s advice worth pondering]
(
The Inquirer front-page photo on Wednesday of two US Marines folding the American flag was heartrending. It was like one of the spouses doing an alsa-balutan (packing things) and about to leave home. The children—the Filipino and American people—could only cry while their parents take a vacation from each other.)


OCTOBER 12 -President Rodrigo Duterte greets the Filipino community in Vietnam during a meeting on Sept. 28, 2016. PPD/Ace Morandante President Rodrigo Duterte saw his trust rating decrease by 5 percentage points, from 91 percent in July to 86 percent in September, according to the latest survey by Pulse Asia. Results of the nationwide "Ulat ng Bayan" survey released on Wednesday showed a more pronounced "ambivalence toward presidential performance in his first three months in office." Respondents who are undecided about Duterte's performance jumped from 8 percent to 11 percent, while more also said they distrust the country's leader. Expression of distrust increased from 0.2 percent around the time of his inauguration in July to 3 percent in September. The nationwide survey is based on a sample of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above with a 3 percent margin of error. While still trusted by the majority, Duterte lost most percentage points in Metro Manila, where his rating dropped to 81 percent from a record 92 percent. READ MORE...RELATED, by Ramon Tulfo: FVR’s advice worth pondering...

ALSO: Most Filipinos 'approve' of Duterte's performance - Pulse
[RELATED: Duterte on US alliance: 'Do you really think we need it?']


OCTOBER 13 -
President Rodrigo Duterte scored 86 percent in both approval and trust ratings in his first three months in office, Pulse Asia claimed in its latest survey, results of which was announced Wednesday. The survey, conducted from September 25 to October 1, 2016 using face-to-face interviews among 1,200 adults, also indicated that ambivalence (11%) toward presidential performance is more pronounced than outright disapproval (3%). According to Pulse Asia, the president enjoys big majority approval scores across all geographic areas (Metro Manila - 80%; Balance Luzon - 84%; Visayas - 88%; Mindanao - 93%) and socio-economic classes (ABC - 82%; D - 86%; E - 88%). This is Duterte's first performance rating as president from Pulse Asia. Duterte's disapproval ratings meanwhile are consistently at single-digits across the geographic areas (Metro Manila - 6%; Balance Luzon - 3%; Visayas - 3%; Mindanao - 1%) and socio-economic classes (ABC - 6%; D - 3%; E - 4%).
HIGH TRUST Pulse Asia said 86% of the public also expressed "big trust" to the president, only a slight dip from Duterte's record-high 91% in July. Pulse noted, the decline is negligible as it falls within the survey's overall error margin of +/- 3 percentage points. His overall distrust/small trust rate remain small at 3% despite the 2.8% increase from his July numbers. The undecided also increased from 8% in July to 11% in September.READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte on US alliance: 'Do you really think we need it?'...

ALSO: US envoy honored at House - 'We are great friends, allies' – Goldberg [RELATED: Analyst - Hard for US to lighten up over Duterte]
[RELATED:
US has not failed the Philippines – Goldberg]


OCTOBER 13 -Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez confers on US Ambassador Philip Goldberg the Golden Mace Award in a ceremony at the House of Representatives yesterday. BOY SANTOS
Despite President Duterte’s tirades, the United States is committed to keep its long-standing ties with the Philippines, outgoing US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said yesterday. “The US is committed to the alliance; we are great friends and allies,” Goldberg told reporters at the House of Representatives, which conferred on him the Golden Mace Award for nurturing the two countries’ relationship. Goldberg declined to comment on Duterte’s earlier remarks that the American envoy is “gay” and other unkind words directed at US President Barack Obama. “I’m a diplomat, and I don’t respond to those kinds of comments,” he said. “We have a great alliance and our camaraderie (between US and Filipino soldiers) is great. That’s what I’d like to emphasize.” READ MORE...RELATED, Analyst: Hard for US to lighten up over Duterte...  RELATED, US has not failed the Philippines – Goldberg...

ALSO ‘Du30 drops the ball’: Maritime expert wary of policy pivot to China
(...after Ramos advised Duterte not to push through with the trip to China if they do not comply with certain conditions. Instead of heeding Ramos’ advise, sources said Duterte cancelled Ramos’ China trip and personally took control of talks with Chinese officials without even consulting or informing concerned Philippine counterparts.)
[RELATED: Obama’s top Asia diplomat baffled by Duterte 'panoply' of statements]


OCTOBER 13 -PRESIDENTIAL SUPPORTER. President Rodrigo Duterte appreciates the painting of Ayumi Endo, a mix-art painter from Osaka, Japan, featuring him and PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa at the riverside Malacañang. The female painter is known to use sounds of her art in executing a masterpiece. Malacañang Photo
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte may have dropped the ball in insisting that Philippine foreign policy pivot to China and is methodically eliminating all means of leverage with which the Philippines could secure its interests against “its larger, more powerful neighbor.” “He is taking a huge risk, betting all on China’s goodwill and beneficence without the insurance provided by the diversified, multi-lateral support of historical and traditional friends and allies,” said University of the Philippines law professor Jay Batongbacal. “Over the long term, China unmistakably stands to gain much, while the Philippines’ fate remains uncertain,” said Batongbacal, who was a member of the technical team that helped the government win its claim on the Benham Rise area in the Philippine Sea.He made the remark as sources revealed to Manila Standard that Duterte canceled the China trip of former President Fidel Ramos after Ramos advised Duterte not to push through with the trip to China if they do not comply with certain conditions. Instead of heeding Ramos’ advise, sources said Duterte cancelled Ramos’ China trip and personally took control of talks with Chinese officials without even consulting or informing concerned Philippine counterparts. READ MORE...RELATED, Obama’s top Asia diplomat baffled by Duterte 'panoply' of statements...

ALSO: China confirms Duterte visit, says to discuss forging closer ties
[RELATED FROM AL JAZEERA WORLD NEWS: Philippines: Rodrigo Duterte's pivot to China]
(Duterte is questioning the Philippines' century-old US alliance while ramping up his diplomatic flirtation with China.)


OCTOBER 13 -China's President Xi Jinping and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. File photo / Composite
China yesterday confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte will visit Beijing next week at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to discuss improving bilateral ties, deepening cooperation and international and regional issues of common concern. “China looks forward to increasing mutual trust between the two countries, deepening practical cooperation and continuing the tradition of friendship via the visit of President Duterte,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily press briefing. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang will also meet Duterte on his Oct. 18-21 trip, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang. The mission to China will be Duterte’s first outside of Southeast Asia since assuming the presidency on June 30, in a symbolic move highlighting the importance he places on improving ties with Beijing that soured over competing claims to the South China Sea.China hopes the visit will help the two nations strengthen political trust, deepen cooperation, continue friendship, properly handle disputes and promote bilateral relations back to the track of sound and stable development, Geng added. READ MORE...RELATED, Philippines: Rodrigo Duterte's pivot to China...

ALSO:
After Int'l Crime Court ICC) prosecutor warns PH on killings - Duterte defiant amid ICC probe warning
(“There is nothing wrong in threatening criminals to death. By that statement alone: ‘You criminals, I will kill you. Do not fool around.’ It is a perfect statement,” Duterte said.)

[RELATED: Philippines drug crackdown prompts warning from ICC]

[RELATED(2)No basis for ICC probe on Duterte, says Abella]



OCTOBER 15 -International Crime Court prosecutor Bensouda
EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS WORRYING — ICC PROSECUTOR BENSOUDA President Duterte boldly resisted yesterday a clear warning from the International Criminal Court (ICC) of prosecuting local officials over the high death count on the war on drugs as he defended his threat to kill criminals as “perfect” and vowed no let-up in his war on crime. ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she was “deeply concerned” about the violence, and signaled Duterte could face prosecution by her body for his incitements to kill. “My Office, in accordance with its mandate under the Rome Statute, will be closely following developments in the Philippines in the weeks to come and record any instance of incitement or resort to violence with a view to assessing whether a preliminary examination into the situation of the Philippines needs to be opened,” she added. But Duterte launched a typically defiant counter-attack yesterday, defending his rhetoric and the crime war that is seeing more that 1,000 people killed every month. “There is nothing wrong in threatening criminals to death. By that statement alone: ‘You criminals, I will kill you. Do not fool around.’ It is a perfect statement,” Duterte said. READ MORE...RELATED, Philippines drug crackdown prompts warning from ICC...RELATED(2), No basis for ICC probe on Duterte, says Abella...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Pulse Asia: Duterte's trust rating slightly declines


President Rodrigo Duterte greets the Filipino community in Vietnam during a meeting on Sept. 28, 2016. PPD/Ace Morandante

MANILA, OCTOBER 17, 2016 (PHILSTAR)  October 12, 2016 - President Rodrigo Duterte saw his trust rating decrease by 5 percentage points, from 91 percent in July to 86 percent in September, according to the latest survey by Pulse Asia.

Results of the nationwide "Ulat ng Bayan" survey released on Wednesday showed a more pronounced "ambivalence toward presidential performance in his first three months in office."

Respondents who are undecided about Duterte's performance jumped from 8 percent to 11 percent, while more also said they distrust the country's leader. Expression of distrust increased from 0.2 percent around the time of his inauguration in July to 3 percent in September.

The nationwide survey is based on a sample of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above with a 3 percent margin of error.

While still trusted by the majority, Duterte lost most percentage points in Metro Manila, where his rating dropped to 81 percent from a record 92 percent.

READ MORE...

There are more representative respondents in the capital region—at 6 percent—who said they distrust the president. In comparison, there was virtually no expression of distrust in July when the survey was conducted.

Apart from Metro Manila, Duterte also lost trust ratings across all geographical sectors and socio-economic groupings since July.

RELATED: Duterte maintains 'excellent' trust ratings, says SWS

The Pulse Asia report, however, noted that the decline in Duterte's national trust score is "not considered significant," since the marginal movement in the score still falls within the +/-3 percentage points.

"Appreciation for his work and trust in him are sentiments expressed by most Filipinos (86%) toward President Rodrigo R. Duterte," the pollster said in the report. — Infographic by Jonathan Asuncion

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

FVR’s advice worth pondering By: Ramon Tulfo / @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:18 AM October 13, 2016


U.S. Marines from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and their Philippine counterpart fold their respective flags

The Inquirer front-page photo on Wednesday of two US Marines folding the American flag was heartrending.

It was like one of the spouses doing an alsa-balutan (packing things) and about to leave home.

The children—the Filipino and American people—could only cry while their parents take a vacation from each other.

The relationship between the United States and the Philippines, taking root at the start of the 20th century when the American took over from the Spanish colonizers, was forged in blood in the World War II battles for Bataan and Corregidor and the eventual liberation of the country from the Japanese.

This is the first time the relationship has become stormy and in danger of foundering.

But you’ll see, both countries will weather the storm —and the sea will be calm again.

In a close relationship—like that of a married couple— storms are expected, mostly caused by misunderstanding.

The Philippine and US governments can patch things up if both learn to respect each other’s idiosyncracies.

The United States should learn to treat the Philippines not as its “little brown brother” but as an equal. It should not interfere in our internal affairs.

President Digong may want to consider the advice of his most able predecessor and elder statesman, Fidel Ramos, on US-Philippine relations.

Mr. Ramos said the long friendship between the two countries has been strained by Digong’s tirades against US President Barack Obama; it has affected the US-PH military partnership.

“So, what gives? Are we throwing away decades of military partnership, tactical proficiency, compatible weaponry, predictable logistics and soldier-to-soldier camaraderie just like that?” said Mr. Ramos in his column in another newspaper.

The words of Mr. Ramos, who prodded Mano Digong to run for president, are worth pondering.

Since he’s a certified womanizer, why doesn’t President Digong follow the example of former president and fellow womanizer Joseph “Erap” Estrada on relationships?

To paraphrase Erap, foreign relations—like personal relationship—are about addition, not subtraction.

We can have relationships with China and Russia while maintaining ties with the United States.

“Mas masarap ang marami (The more the merrier),” Erap once told this columnist.

President Digong is offering a P2-million reward to citizens for each “ninja cop” they report to the authorities.

A ninja cop refers to a policeman who seizes illegal drugs but sells part of the seizure.

Mano Digong might run out of funds giving away P2 million for the capture of each ninja cop because there are so many of them.

By the way, one of the recent presidential appointees was a ninja cop when he was still in the service.


ABS-CBN

Most Filipinos 'approve' of Duterte's performance: Pulse Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News Posted at Oct 12 2016 02:24 PM

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte scored 86 percent in both approval and trust ratings in his first three months in office, Pulse Asia claimed in its latest survey, results of which was announced Wednesday.

The survey, conducted from September 25 to October 1, 2016 using face-to-face interviews among 1,200 adults, also indicated that ambivalence (11%) toward presidential performance is more pronounced than outright disapproval (3%).

According to Pulse Asia, the president enjoys big majority approval scores across all geographic areas (Metro Manila - 80%; Balance Luzon - 84%; Visayas - 88%; Mindanao - 93%) and socio-economic classes (ABC - 82%; D - 86%; E - 88%).

This is Duterte's first performance rating as president from Pulse Asia.

Duterte's disapproval ratings meanwhile are consistently at single-digits across the geographic areas (Metro Manila - 6%; Balance Luzon - 3%; Visayas - 3%; Mindanao - 1%) and socio-economic classes (ABC - 6%; D - 3%; E - 4%).

HIGH TRUST

Pulse Asia said 86% of the public also expressed "big trust" to the president, only a slight dip from Duterte's record-high 91% in July. Pulse noted, the decline is negligible as it falls within the survey's overall error margin of +/- 3 percentage points.

His overall distrust/small trust rate remain small at 3% despite the 2.8% increase from his July numbers. The undecided also increased from 8% in July to 11% in September.

READ MORE...

His trust rating across the geographic areas (Metro Manila - 81%; Balance Luzon - 82%; Visayas - 86%; Mindanao - 96%) and socio-economic classes (ABC - 85%; D - 85%; E - 88%) also remain high.

Like his performance ratings, his distrust/small trust rating is also at single-digits across the geographic areas (Metro Manila - 6%; Balance Luzon - 4%; Visayas - 2%; Mindanao - 1%) and socio-economic classes (ABC - 7%; D - 3%; E - 4%).

The national-level figures have a +/- 3% error margin at the 95% confidence level, while estimates at geographical areas have a +/- 6% error margin, also at 95% confidence level.

Pulse Asia noted these stories, among others, made headlines, leading to the conducting of the survey

- Self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato faced the Senate inquiry on the spate of extrajudicial killings, linking then-Mayor Duterte to the Davao Death Squad and to the killing of about 1,000 crime suspects and political opponents

- Denial from Duterte about knowing Matobato personally and from Paolo Duterte about ordering the killing of the businessman Matobato named

- Concern expressed by various groups about the the increasing death toll from Duterte's drug war

- Apology from Duterte to the Jewish community after referring to the Holocaust and Adolf Hitler in connection with his ongoing campaign against drugs

- Ouster of Senator Leila de Lima as chairperson of the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee

- Investigation of the House of Representatives into the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison; release of two narco-list, where Duterte named some local executives and high-ranking officials;

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Duterte on US alliance: 'Do you really think we need it?' BY JIM GOMEZ Associated Press
Associated Press writer Matthew Pennington in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.


U.S. Marines from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and their Philippine counterpart salute at the closing ceremony of the 33rd joint US-Philippines amphibious landing exercises dubbed PHIBLEX at the marines corps in suburban Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. The Philippine president says he will not abrogate a defense treaty with the United States but is questioning its importance and that of joint combat exercises, which he says only benefit America. President Rodrigo Duterte criticized the United States and his country's engagement with the American military in a speech Tuesday as Philippine marines and their American counterparts ended combat drills a day early. Bullit Marquez AP Photo

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he will not abrogate a defense treaty with the United States but questioned its importance and that of joint combat exercises, which he says only benefit America.
 

Duterte pressed his criticism of the United States and his country's engagement with the American military in a speech as U.S. Marines and their Philippine counterparts ended combat drills a day early in a separate ceremony. A U.S. general, in contrast, underscored the need for the joint drills to brace for potential crises.
 

Duterte, who labels himself a socialist, has had an uneasy relationship with the U.S. and a falling out with President Barack Obama, whom he has lambasted for criticizing his deadly anti-drug fight. Despite his constant anti-U.S. pronouncements, Duterte said he would not abrogate the mutual defense treaty with the U.S. but questioned the need for it.

 
 

"I do not mean to cancel or abrogate the military alliances," Duterte said in a speech before new government officials at the presidential palace. "But let me ask you ... do you really think we need it?"
 

He did not clearly specify his reason for questioning the treaty alliance but said if a conflict pitting the world's most powerful nations breaks out, "there will be no more American aid to talk of." He added that when Russia annexed Crimea, "America wasn't able to do anything."
 

Duterte has announced he will end the joint combat exercises, which China has opposed. His defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, said he has asked Duterte for a reconsideration, and has explained to the president the importance of the approximately 28 annual joint military exercises, including three major ones that involve thousands of troops, in preparing for natural disasters and other contingencies. U.S. military officials want to continue the joint maneuvers, Lorenzana said Friday.
 

Duterte, however, has remained criticial, saying Tuesday that U.S. troops take back with them the high-tech and powerful weapons after each drill. "So what's the point?" he asked. "They're the ones who benefited, they're the ones who learned but we got nothing."

In Washington, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia said Tuesday the U.S. will honor its commitments to the Philippines and expects its Southeast Asian ally to do the same.


U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. John Jansen of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade addresses troops at the closing ceremony of the 33rd joint U.S.-Philippines amphibious landing exercises dubbed PHIBLEX at the marines corps in suburban Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. The Philippine president says he will not abrogate a defense treaty with the United States but is questioning its importance and that of joint combat exercises, which he says only benefit America. President Rodrigo Duterte criticized the United States and his country's engagement with the American military in a speech Tuesday as Philippine marines and their American counterparts ended combat drills a day early. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
 

Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said the U.S. values the relationship and wants to keep it on an "even keel."
 

"We're prepared, as we always have been, to honor our commitments and the obligations that we have to the Philippines and we expect the same in return," Russel said at an event held by the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.
 

Russel said the U.S. has no problem with the Philippines discussing its territorial and maritime disputes with China if it is done on terms acceptable to the Philippines and consistent with international law.
 

That was an apparent reference to a July ruling by an international tribunal in a case brought by the previous Philippine government that found that China's sweeping claims to most the South China Sea on historical grounds were invalid under a U.N. treaty.
 

The joint drills that ended Tuesday in an austere ceremony were held in an air of uncertainty because of Duterte's warning that they would be the last under his rule.
 

U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. John Jansen said the drills underscored the depth of the U.S.-Philippine alliance "and the commitment to be there when it counts," adding both countries benefited from the exercises.
 

"It makes us all better," Jansen said. "''It not only makes us better but more capable and effective as an integrated force that provides a capability that we might apply to our treaty obligations in the future, whether it be in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, assistance in internal security, or in other types of crisis."
 

A Philippine military spokesman for the exercises, Col. Ariel Caculitan, said the maneuvers ended a day early because of adjustments resulting from stormy weather forecasts, among other reasons, and had no connection with Duterte's criticism of the drills.
 


PHILSTAR

We are great friends, allies – Goldberg By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 13, 2016 - 12:00am 1 5 googleplus0 0


Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez confers on US Ambassador Philip Goldberg the Golden Mace Award in a ceremony at the House of Representatives yesterday. BOY SANTOS

MANILA, Philippines – Despite President Duterte’s tirades, the United States is committed to keep its long-standing ties with the Philippines, outgoing US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said yesterday.

“The US is committed to the alliance; we are great friends and allies,” Goldberg told reporters at the House of Representatives, which conferred on him the Golden Mace Award for nurturing the two countries’ relationship.

Goldberg declined to comment on Duterte’s earlier remarks that the American envoy is “gay” and other unkind words directed at US President Barack Obama.

“I’m a diplomat, and I don’t respond to those kinds of comments,” he said. “We have a great alliance and our camaraderie (between US and Filipino soldiers) is great. That’s what I’d like to emphasize.”

READ MORE...

The outgoing ambassador also refused to discuss outlooks on Manila’s Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with Washington or the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) or the 60-year-old Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

“I don’t want to talk about the end of the VFA,” he said. “We have the desire to continue our alliance that President Obama said is ironclad. It benefits the US and the Philippines, as it should. We are committed to help the economic wellbeing of the Philippines.”

Goldberg thanked Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez for acknowledging his efforts to enrich Philippine-US relations.

“I thank Speaker Alvarez for the great honor for me, most especially for my country,” he said.

Goldberg started his tour of duty in Manila in November 2013. Upon his arrival, he immediately went to Tacloban and Palo town in Leyte province, places that were hardest hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda, the strongest catastrophe in recorded history.

“His (Goldberg’s) diplomatic mission to the Philippines focused on bilateral cooperation, particularly on humanitarian assistance and security matters,” stated a portion of House Resolution 15, which gave the US envoy the honor.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Analyst: Hard for US to lighten up over Duterte By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated October 13, 2016 - 10:52am 9 288 googleplus0 1


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte waves from the deck as he tours the newly-commissioned Philippine Coast Guard vessel the BRP Tubbataha during its 115th anniversary celebration Wednesday Oct.12, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. Duterte said he has instructed his defense chief not to prepare for joint exercises with the U.S. military next year as he moved to realize his threat to scrap the high-profile symbol of his country's treaty alliance. Duterte, however, reiterated that he will not abrogate a 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty with Washington. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — The United States might find it hard to lighten up over President Rodrigo Duterte following his recent tirades against the American government, a political analyst said.

Duterte had threatened to break ties with the US will continue to criticize his campaign against the illegal drug trade.

The new chief executive earlier said that he wants to withdraw from the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US. The president has also expressed his intent to end the annual war games between Filipino and America troops during his term.

"I think that it would be hard for the US to lighten up anymore. To their credit, senior officials and the government here have said almost nothing in reaction to this constant series of tirades," Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative director Gregory Poling said in a podcast.

Poling noted that there have only been statements regarding Duterte's "colorful" language from Washington despite his remarks against the country's long-time ally.

The US maintained that it will continue to abide by its commitments to the Philippines despite the president's comments which are "at odds" with the relationship between the Filipino and American people.

READ: US stands firm on human rights issues in Philippines

| White House: Duterte's comments at odds with US-PH ties

Poling stressed that the alliance is not between the US and Duterte but between the people of the US and the people of the Philippines.

"Now, President Duterte and his Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, in part, have railed against the inequities of the treaty, the relationship railed against US colonial administration of the Philippines, but then left giant gaps in the historical memory when it comes to all the times the alliance worked for both our countries," Poling said.

The political analyst stressed that the US was first on the scene and saving lives after Supertyphoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) hit the country in 2013.

Philippine marines would not be aboard the BRP Sierra Madre stationed near the Ayungin Shoal if not for the treaty with the US, Poling said.

"There would probably be a Chinese artificial island on Scarborough Shoal right off 100 plus miles off the coast of Luzon if it weren't for the treaty commitment," Poling said.

"Now he's (Duterte) throwing all of that overboard in the hopes of maybe hopefully reaching a deal with zero reason for China to make that deal," the political analyst added.

Poling further noted that there is no need for the Philippines to distance itself from its traditional allies and friends in pushing for an independent foreign policy.

"Why is a prerequisite for a close relationship with China to spurn the US, and Australia, and the EU and in fact the entire United Nations, that just because you make a new friend doesn't mean you have to ditch your old friends," Poling said.

Duterte will undertake a visit to state visit to China on October 18 to 21 upon the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Beijing has welcomed the decision of Duterte to visit China despite the maritime dispute over the South China, part of which Manila claims and calls the West Philippine Sea.

RELATED: Duterte to set aside sea dispute during China trip

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RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR

US has not failed the Philippines – Goldberg By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 15, 2016 - 12:00am 1 0 googleplus0 0


The United States did not fail the Philippines and Washington is hopeful the two countries will be able to “work through” whatever difficulties exist and see the relationship endure, outgoing US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said yesterday. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The United States did not fail the Philippines and Washington is hopeful the two countries will be able to “work through” whatever difficulties exist and see the relationship endure, outgoing US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said yesterday.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said the US “failed” the Philippines, forcing President Duterte to break the country’s “shackling dependency” on its ally and liberate Filipinos from submission to American demands and interests.

“The United States is a good friend of the people of the Philippines and works continually with the government and the people of the Philippines to make it a better relationship, so that’s what we have done. That’s what we’ll continue to do,” Goldberg told reporters on the sidelines of an event organized by the Zuellig Family Foundation in cooperation with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Pasay City.

“Of course I’m unable to hear some of the things that are said or written and we do these things despite some of those discordant notes,” he said.

Yasay said breaking away from the shackling dependency of the Philippines to effectively address both internal and external security threats had become imperative in putting an end to the country’s subservience to the US.

He said the “carrot and stick” policy of the US towards the Philippines had been effectively used all through the long years since the country’s independence to force Filipinos into submission to American demands and interests.

FRUITFUL,, BENEFITED BOTH SIDES

But Goldberg said the relationship between the Philippines and the US was very “fruitful” and benefited both sides.

“It benefits the Philippines and has and continues to and will in the future I hope, and one that benefits the United States too as a friend and an ally of the Philippines,” he added.

The US, he said, worked to make sure that its alliance and friendship with the Philippines, the people-to-people, commercial and business relationships continued.

But he emphasized that “I and my government can’t control everything that happens on the side.”

As a diplomat, Goldberg described himself as an optimist.

“When I say that our relationship will endure that’s what we want. That’s what we’re working towards and we try not to listen to every piece of noise that comes out or anything of the sort because it’s such an important relationship. It’s a historic relationship,” Goldberg said.

“I know it’s a relationship supported by the people of the Philippines, so hopefully we’ll be able to work through whatever difficulties exist and be able to continue working as allies and friends, which we’ve been for 70 years,” he stressed.

The ambassador declined to comment on the President’s reference to him as gay, noting that he would not take things personally.

“I’m a diplomat and I don’t respond to things of that nature,” Goldberg said.

“I represent my country which I’m very proud to do. I’m not here as an individual. I’m here as a representative of the president of the United States and the people of the United States so I have really no more to say about it,” he said.

The President referred to Goldberg as gay when he criticized the ambassador for supposedly meddling in Philippine affairs during the last elections.


MANILA STANDARD

‘Du30 drops the ball’: Maritime expert wary of policy pivot to China posted October 13, 2016 at 12:01 am by Sara Susanne D. Fabunan


PRESIDENTIAL SUPPORTER. President Rodrigo Duterte appreciates the painting of Ayumi Endo, a mix-art painter from Osaka, Japan, featuring him and PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa at the riverside Malacañang. The female painter is known to use sounds of her art in executing a masterpiece. Malacañang Photo

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte may have dropped the ball in insisting that Philippine foreign policy pivot to China and is methodically eliminating all means of leverage with which the Philippines could secure its interests against “its larger, more powerful neighbor.”

“He is taking a huge risk, betting all on China’s goodwill and beneficence without the insurance provided by the diversified, multi-lateral support of historical and traditional friends and allies,” said University of the Philippines law professor Jay Batongbacal.

“Over the long term, China unmistakably stands to gain much, while the Philippines’ fate remains uncertain,” said Batongbacal, who was a member of the technical team that helped the government win its claim on the Benham Rise area in the Philippine Sea.

He made the remark as sources revealed to Manila Standard that Duterte canceled the China trip of former President Fidel Ramos after Ramos advised Duterte not to push through with the trip to China if they do not comply with certain conditions.

Instead of heeding Ramos’ advise, sources said Duterte cancelled Ramos’ China trip and personally took control of talks with Chinese officials without even consulting or informing concerned Philippine counterparts.

READ MORE...

Batongbacal, also director of the UP Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, stressed that China has already said that it will never negotiate with the Philippines on the basis of the arbitration award.


BATONBACAL

“According to China, nothing is negotiable on the basis of the arbitration award, but everything is negotiable if it is discarded,” Batongbacal said.

Duterte, he cited, has publicly insisted that he will negotiate with China on the basis of the Arbitral Tribunal ruling and within the international law but recent developments suggest the Philippines may be left with just “paper.”

“[Duterte] has publicly insisted that he will not go out of the four corners of that paper, but at the rate things are going, that is precisely all that will be left: a piece of paper,” Batongbacal said.

“By alienating allies like the United States and Australia; refusing to push through with basic surveillance of the West Philippine Sea, discarding an Asean role; declaring that the Philippines cannot defend its territorial/jurisdictional areas; even exhorting the public to “not dwell” on Scarborough Shoal,” Batongbacal said.

Batongbacal said, Duterte’s upcoming visit to China may formally mark the swing back of the pendulum called Philippine foreign policy.

“The Philippines has steadily and unambiguously provided China with all the concessions it wants in the aftermath of the arbitration: no hype over the arbitral award, withdrawal of patrols from the EEZ, and stepping [and potentially breaking] away from the alliance with the US, as well as other allies.

“At the same time, after a sustained push to get the Asean members to begin standing up to China in the SCS and securing a massive legal victory that could be the solid basis of a united front between claimants, the Philippines has dropped the ball and withdrawn at the eleventh hour to deal bilaterally with China,” Brongbacal said.

TEST IN DU30 DIPLOMACY

Batongbcal said, Duterte’s meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping will be first major test of his “crude and apparently transactional diplomacy”.

“He has bet all his chips on China reciprocating for his abandonment of the previous administration’s strategy for the West Philippine Sea, expecting a concession for Philippine fishing and a windfall of Chinese economic investments,” he said.

Batongbacal warned that if Duterte will return without any concessions, it will be humiliating blow for his part “since he has given practically all the possible political leverage that he had in reserve.”

If Duterte come back with rewards, Btingbacal said his critics and opponents will see him to have succumbed to the power of Chinese economic inducements.

Even Ramos has expressed disappointment with Duterte’s foreign policy tack, particularly after Duterte canceled Ramos’ China after the latter set certain conditions that Beijing rejected, an administration source told the Manila Standard Wednesday.

Ramos, who was appointed by the President as the special envoy to China, advised Duterte not to push through with his presidential visit to Beijing if a consensus was not reached.

While Ramos has not made any statement about the cancellation of his trip, Duterte will still push through with his visit to Beijing next week.

“It’s not clear whether the terms of the visit are still on the table,” the source who asked not be named said.

On Monday, Duterte said he would likely not dwell on the Philippines’ territorial claims in the South China Sea.

“Let’s not dwell on Scarborough Shoal because we don’t have the capabilities. Even if we express anger, it will just amount to nothing. We can’t back it up,” Duterte said in Filipino before local government officials in Lamitan, Basilan.

In a recent report published in Manila Standard, a foreign affairs source claimed that the problem was that the advisers who surround Duterte “also think like him.”

“He needs an adviser who can calm his temper. That can only happen if you have a good pool of people not only competent, but with diverse opinion,” the foreign affairs insider said.

Two administration sources confirmed that Duterte is unlikely to discuss the Philippines’ claim over the West Philippine Sea.

In a text message, another official who is privy on Duterte’s official visit to China said that the President will instead ask Xi to help the Philippines in its bloody war against alleged drug users and dealers.

The source also reiterated Duterte’s earlier statement that fishing rights at the Scarborough Shoal are likely be discussed.

The source added that Duterte will not raise as yet the decision by a UN tribunal that threw out China’s claims to almost the entire South China Sea in favor of the Philippines.

RAMOS, CARPIO

On Tuesday, both Ramos and Senior Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio scored the Duterte administration’s anti-American foreign and military policy and urged President Rodrigo Duterte to stand for real independence and defend the country’s territorial integrity.

Ramos, an alumni of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, said Duterte must learn to reach beyond his personal biases and think of his duties as being a responsibility to future Filipino generations.

“I hope he shows more leadership in our lives. Not only in drugs,” Ramos said in an interview over the ABS-CBN News Channel.

“Although removing the drug menace is one of [the country’s biggest problems], it is not the whole thing,” said the 88-year-old Ramos, who was president from 1992 to 1998.

“I am sorry to say this, President Duterte, my President, our President. That is 20th century thinking. We are now in the 21st century,” Ramos said, apparently referring to Duterte’s references to US atrocities in the Philippines in the early 20th century.

Carpio, on the other hand, urged Duterte to understand the importance of holding patrols within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone during a speech at the closing of amphibious exercises with the United States on Tuesday.

Ramos, whom Duterte credited for convincing him to run for president, said looking to the aspirations of the young and not the historical past should be the mindset of a leader.

“That must not be the mentality of leaders these days,” Ramos said, suggesting that if Duterte can show pictures of Moros killed by Americans, future Filipinos can also show pictures of Filipinos killed by Filipinos, like the Ampatuan, Maguindanao massacre of November 2009.

China claims 90 percent or the whole South China Sea as its own, citing the nine-dash line of its ancient Chinese map.

Aside from the Philippines, parts of the South China Sea are also claimed by other members of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nation including Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia.

On July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration has ruled in favor of the Philippines deciding that China is illegally claiming and continuously destroying the marine environment of the disputed sea.

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RELATED FROM MALAYA

Obama’s top Asia diplomat baffled by Duterte statements October 14, 2016


RUSSEL

WASHINGTON. – The top US diplomat for East Asia said on Wednesday he did not know what a “panoply” of statements by Philippine President Duterte since taking office this year would mean for Manila’s future security cooperation with Washington.

Duterte has made a series of conflicting statements about the future of his country’s long-standing alliance with the United States. Last week he said US President Barack Obama should “go to hell” and alluded to severing ties with Washington.

On Wednesday, in an apparent break from a weeks-long torrent of anti-American rhetoric, Duterte said the Philippines would maintain its existing defense treaties and its military alliances. But he added to the confusion when he said his foreign policy was to “realign” and reiterated that joint exercises with US troops, a decades-old tradition, would be stopped.

Obama’s senior US diplomat for East Asia, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel, told a roundtable discussion with Washington defense journalists he was baffled.

“President Duterte has made a panoply of statements; I think the operative adjective is ‘colorful,’” he said.

“But what that will ultimately translate (into) in terms of the ability of the Philippines to work with the United States on issues directly germane to security and even some of the regional and global challenges it faces ... we don’t have an answer to just yet.”

Russel said he was not aware of any changes in security cooperation. He said that if the Philippine government were to propose specific changes to the relationship, the United States would “deal with that,” but said there was “a distinction to be made between general high level pronouncements and considered policy decisions and actions.”

“There is a lot of noise, there’s a lot of stray voltage in the media, but ultimately the decisions about the alliance operations are going to be taken, I believe in a deliberate and thoughtful way.” – Reuters


TRIBUNE

China confirms Duterte visit, says to discuss forging closer ties Written by Tribune Wires Thursday, 13 October 2016 00:00 By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora


China's President Xi Jinping and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. File photo / Composite

China yesterday confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte will visit Beijing next week at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to discuss improving bilateral ties, deepening cooperation and international and regional issues of common concern.

“China looks forward to increasing mutual trust between the two countries, deepening practical cooperation and continuing the tradition of friendship via the visit of President Duterte,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily press briefing.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang will also meet Duterte on his Oct. 18-21 trip, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

The mission to China will be Duterte’s first outside of Southeast Asia since assuming the presidency on June 30, in a symbolic move highlighting the importance he places on improving ties with Beijing that soured over competing claims to the South China Sea.China hopes the visit will help the two nations strengthen political trust, deepen cooperation, continue friendship, properly handle disputes and promote bilateral relations back to the track of sound and stable development, Geng added.

READ MORE...

He said the two sides were keeping close communication regarding specific arrangement and the results and deals that could be achieved.

Geng said a good China-Philippines relationship was a common desire of the two nations.

“The Philippines is a traditionally friendly neighbor of China. The two peoples have a long history of friendship.”

According to Geng, China attaches high importance to relations with the Philippines and is willing to work with the country to promote the sound and stable development of bilateral ties.

Duterte the other said he will also probably visit Russia after a trip to Japan this month.

“China has repeatedly invited me. I have accepted the offer,” Duterte said in a speech.

Duterte said he had originally planned to visit Japan, the Philippines’ biggest source of foreign aid, ahead of China.

But he explained that Japan offered a “definite” date, then China told Duterte there was a “vacancy” earlier and so he accepted.
Duterte also said that, after Japan, “probably I will go to Russia”.

Duterte has looked to build closer ties with China and Russia, while launching repeated tirades against the United States, the Philippines’ former colonial ruler and defense ally.

His tirades have been largely in response to US criticism of Duterte’s war on crime, which has claimed more than 3,300 lives and raised fears about extrajudicial killings.

Duterte has canceled joint patrols with the United States in the South China Sea, said he may scrap a defense pact that allows thousands of US troops to rotate through the Philippines, and threatened to eventually cut ties completely.

In contrast, he has described Chinese leader Xi Jinping as “a great president,” and praised China and Russia for showing respect in not criticizing his crime crackdown.

Japan trip

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday announced that Duterte is set to visit Japan on October 25 to October 27.

The President Duterte is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and meet with Emperor Akihito after his state visit to.

“Upon the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will undertake an Official Visit to Japan on 25 to 27 October 2016. During his visit, the President will meet with the Japanese Prime Minister,” the DFA said, adding he will also make a state call on Emperor Akihito.

Duterte also yesterday thanked Japan for its continued assistance, including patrol ships, to the country.

“Let me start by giving our gratitude to Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa, our heartfelt thanks for giving us the ships — some are here, others are coming — and your desire to help the Philippines,” Duterte said.

The President recognized Japan as one of the biggest contributors to the Filipino people.

“In my city alone, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) projects are abundant and it has redounded to the benefit of my countrymen over in Mindanao,” said the former Davao City mayor.

“And now that I’m the President, you continue to pour the aid that you feel you want to extend to us and again, we’d like to thank the Japanese people, your Emperor and your government,” he said.

Duterte said the Philippines needs more ships to patrol the country’s more than 7,000 islands.

“We need the ships. If you count the number of islands of about 7,000 plus, that would count to so many great miles of coastlines.

It is not enough but at least we have the ships to begin with. The old ones plus the new one that has been delivered to us, would greatly help us in this endeavor,” he said.

For his part, Ishikawa said that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during his meeting with Duterte at the Laos Asean Summit last Sept. 6, announced Japan’s intention to provide a new loan for the construction of larger patrol ships for the Philippines.

“On this occasion, the two leaders will further discuss ways to enhance friendship ranging from peace and security, fight against terrorism and economic cooperation, such as infrastructure development and people-to-people exchanges,” Ishikawa said.

“We will work together with the government of the Philippines to further deepen our strong relationship,” he added. PNA

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RELATED FROM AL JAZEERA (ANALYSIS)

Philippines: Rodrigo Duterte's pivot to China byRichard Javad Heydarian @Richeydarian  Richard Javad Heydarian is a specialist in Asian geopolitical/economic affairs.



Duterte is questioning the Philippines' century-old US alliance while ramping up his diplomatic flirtation with China.

A blimp with a banner supporting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte flies along Manila Bay in Manila, Philippines [EPA]A blimp with a banner supporting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte flies along Manila Bay in Manila, Philippines [EPA]

"I am no American puppet. I am the president of a sovereign country and I am not answerable to anyone except the Filipino people," proclaimed Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines' controversial leader. It was a defiant remark in response to the West's increasingly vocal criticism of his "shock and awe" campaign against drugs.

Over the past few weeks, Duterte has upped the ante by questioning the Philippines' century-old alliance with the United States while intensifying his diplomatic flirtation with China.

First he threatened to expel American Special Forces aiding Filipino counterterror operations in the southern island of Mindanao.

Then he suggested ending joint maritime patrols and military exercises with America in the South China Sea and, more recently, even discussed the possibility of abrogating defence agreements with the US.

Deep suspicion

Meanwhile, Duterte went so far as considering an alliance with Russia and China. Currently, the Duterte administration is negotiating a 25-year military agreement with Beijing, paving the way for purchase of Chinese weaponry by the largely US-equipped and trained armed forces of the Philippines.

OPINION: Barack Obama's pivot to Asia in tatters

There have also been parallel negotiations to buy advanced weaponry from Moscow, including MI17 or MI24 heavily armoured attack helicopters. Time and again, Duterte has called for closer and friendly ties with the Eastern powers, particularly China, which a majority of Filipinos view with deep suspicion.

"The Filipino leader has ... adopted a pragmatic position on the South China Sea, calling for a dialogue-based, bilateral settlement of maritime disputes."

The Filipino leader has, quite paradoxically, adopted a pragmatic position on the South China Sea, calling for a dialogue-based, bilateral settlement of maritime disputes.

And, unlike any of his predecessors, Duterte is set to embark on a state visit to China before the US. All of a sudden, Duterte seems to have reshuffled regional strategic alignments in Asia.

New best friend

"I am ready to not really break ties [with America] but we will open alliances with China and ... Medvedev [Russia]," said Duterte recently, catching even his most avid supporters by surprise.

Invoking Caesar, Duterte has expressed his preference to join the "other side of the ideological barrier", breaking ties with the West altogether.

He has almost completely discarded his predecessor, Benigno Aquino's confrontational strategy towards China, which was largely hinged on America military and diplomatic support. Instead, Duterte has emphasised the necessity for setting aside sovereignty disputes with China by focusing on joint development schemes.


President Rodrigo Duterte [Al Jazeera]

He has sought to downplay the Philippines arbitration case against China, which nullified the bulk of China’s claims across the South China Sea. In fact, he has refused to even raise the issue in multilateral forums.

Meanwhile, he has expanded cooperation with China in various fields, including in his signature "war on drugs" campaign.

"We stand ready to have anti-drug cooperation with the Philippines and formulate a common action plan for it," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in response to Manila's request for assistance.

Duterte has repeatedly extolled Beijing's offer to aid his anti-drugs policy by offering logistical support and intelligence. As a symbol of its commitment, China has even built rehabilitation centres for Filipino drug users.

OPINION: Rodrigo Duterte's game amid the spat with Obama

China has also offered to revamp the Philippines' decrepit public infrastructure. Several senior Filipino officials have visited China to discuss potentially multibillion-dollar investments, with Duterte going the extra mile to portray China as a loving and caring neighbour to his countrymen.

"I have a good feeling they [China] really want to help us in a big way … I promise you I will build hospitals and schools from the soft-term loans we will get [from China]," promised Duterte in a recent speech.

The backlash

Before his trip to China later this month, Duterte is preparing a huge business delegation to negotiate a wide-ranging series of bilateral trade and investment deals. China is expected to roll out the red carpet and woo him by showering the Filipino leader with utmost hospitality and respect.

Intent on ensuring territorial disputes don't undermine burgeoning ties with China, Duterte has seemingly asked Filipinos to not insist on regaining control of the bitterly disputed Scarborough Shoal, which falls well within the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone and was the site of a naval standoff between the Philippines and China in 2012.

Emphasising the supposed futility of confronting China on territorial disputes, Duterte has suggested that the Philippines should "not touch the Scarborough Shoal issue because we cannot win that", since, he argues, "We can't beat [China]".

Meanwhile, relations with traditional allies such as America have hit rock bottom, as disagreements over human rights and South China Sea issues are compounded.

Confrontational language

The US President Barack Obama has openly criticised Duterte's campaign against drugs, while encouraging the Philippines to settle territorial disputes with China in accordance to the arbitration award at The Hague. Notwithstanding Duterte's fiery criticism of America, the superpower remains deeply popular among Filipinos, who are largely critical and suspicious of China.

The same is true of the Philippine security establishment, which is deeply dependent on American training as well as logistical and financial support.

More importantly, Duterte's confrontational language towards America has invited vigorous criticism among his most influential supporters, including former President Fidel Ramos, who recently warned about the risk of "throwing away decades of military partnership, tactical proficiency, compatible weaponry, predictable logistics, and soldier-to-soldier camaraderie" with Americans.

For now, however, it seems that Duterte is more interested in pushing back against Western critics and rebuilding ties with China, even if that means renegotiating certain parameters of existing security cooperation with America. But it is unlikely that he will ditch his country's alliance with Washington altogether.

Richard Javad Heydarian is a specialist in Asian geopolitical/economic affairs and author of Asia's New Battlefield: US, China, and the Struggle for Western Pacific.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy. Source: Al Jazeera


TRIBUNE

Duterte defiant amid ICC probe warning Written by Tribune Wires Saturday, 15 October 2016 00:00 By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora and Gerry Baldo

EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS WORRYING — ICC PROSECUTOR BENSOUDA


International Crime Court prosecutor Bensouda

President Duterte boldly resisted yesterday a clear warning from the International Criminal Court (ICC) of prosecuting local officials over the high death count on the war on drugs as he defended his threat to kill criminals as “perfect” and vowed no let-up in his war on crime.
ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she was “deeply concerned” about the violence, and signaled Duterte could face prosecution by her body for his incitements to kill. “My Office, in accordance with its mandate under the Rome Statute, will be closely following developments in the Philippines in the weeks to come and record any instance of incitement or resort to violence with a view to assessing whether a preliminary examination into the situation of the Philippines needs to be opened,” she added.

But Duterte launched a typically defiant counter-attack yesterday, defending his rhetoric and the crime war that is seeing more that 1,000 people killed every month.

“There is nothing wrong in threatening criminals to death. By that statement alone: ‘You criminals, I will kill you. Do not fool around.’ It is a perfect statement,” Duterte said.

READ MORE...

The ICC raised concerns over the allegations of extrajudicial killings in relation to Duterte’s war on drugs that thus far had resulted in more than 3,000 deaths of suspected drugs offenders.

Bensouda said in a statement that the ICC is aware of “worrying reported extra-judicial killings of alleged drug dealers and users in the Philippines, which may have led to over 3,000 deaths in the past three months.”

The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier scaled down the casualty number in the drugs war to 2,300 people from an earlier estimate of 3,600 after investigations it said it conducted into the near-daily killings showed that not all were related to the anti-narcotics campaign.

“Not all (the deaths) are related to the war on drugs,” Philippine National Police spokesman Dionardo Carlos said.

Carlos said 1,566 drug suspects were killed in police operations and 722 deaths were still under investigation or had been already investigated.

Carlos said recent investigations had found that only 722 of the deaths under investigation or investigated were drug-related. He did not give any motives for the other deaths but said they were homicides and murders.

Agence France Presse (AFP), however, cited “official” figures showing police have killed 1,578 people and 2,151 have died in unexplained circumstances.

The total of 3,729 is 368 more than the previous police update released last week, it said.

Bensouda said extra-judicial killings may fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC “if they are committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population pursuant to a state policy to commit such an attack.”

“I am deeply concerned about these alleged killings and the fact that public statements of high officials of the Republic of the Philippines seem to condone such killings and further seem to encourage state forces and civilians alike to continue targeting these individuals with lethal force,” Bensouda said.

Bensouda also issued a reminder that the Republic of the Philippines is a state party to the ICC “and as such, the court has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed on the territory or by nationals of the Philippines” since November 1, 2011, “when the statute entered into force in the Philippines.”

She said any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any other manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable to prosecution before the court.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecution of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Office has been conducting investigations in: Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two separate investigations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Georgia. The ICC office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Afghanistan; Burundi; the registered vessels of Comoros, Greece and Cambodia; Colombia; Gabon; Guinea; Iraq; Palestine, Nigeria and Ukraine.

No breather for criminals — Rody

Describing his critics as “fools”, Duterte reiterated his position he was not breaking any domestic laws by threatening to kill criminals and pledged the crime war would continue until there were no more illegal drugs in society.

“I will not stop. Be sure of it, you can cast it in whatever stone. I will not stop until the last pusher, until the last drug lord is taken away,” he added.

Duterte won the May elections in a landslide on a pledge to eradicate drugs.

Last month Duterte said he would be “happy to slaughter” three million drug addicts, and likened his campaign to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s efforts to exterminate Jews in Europe.

He later apologized for his Hitler reference, but said he was “emphatic” about wanting to kill all drug addicts.

The United States, the European Union and the United Nations have condemned alleged extrajudicial killings and warned of a breakdown in the rule of law.

Bensouda indicated that Duterte was at risk of joining the likes of late Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi and Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, in being indicted by the International Criminal Court.

No gov’t-sanctioned killings

Malacanang also assured the International Criminal Court (ICC) that the alleged extrajudicial killings of the suspected drug suspects in the Philippines are not sanctioned by the government.

Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar issued the statement in reaction to Bensouda’s concerns.

”Drug-related killings, including vigilante killings, are not state-sanctioned,” Andanar said in a press statement.

”Many of those who died were killed during legitimate police operations which are currently undergoing investigation as directed by the President,” Andanar said.

Andanar said even Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights that conducted the extrajudicial killings, reportedly said there is no proof that killings were state-sanctioned.

”In any case, the President has articulated that he is willing to submit himself for an investigation before anybody,” he said.
Malacañang recently invited UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard to investigate the killings.

But Duterte vowed on Thursday to “humiliate” her and any other critics if they dared to come to the Philippines and investigate.
Polls show Filipinos overwhelmingly support Duterte’s war on crime.

The government had initially rebuffed Callamard when she announced plans to take up Duterte’s challenge for a probe.

Callamard has since told AFP she would discuss with Manila the date and scope of a fact-finding mission, state guarantees for her freedom of movement and inquiry, and assurances about the safety of mission members and their interview subjects.

Duterte has insisted that he and his police forces have done nothing illegal, and that law enforcers have been forced to shoot and kill after suspects put up a fight.

The ICC’s prosecutor has to the power to ask the Hague-based court’s judges to authorise a preliminary probe, which gathers evidence to see whether a full-blown investigation — which could lead to an eventual trial — should be opened. AFP

-----------------------

RELATED FROM THE GUARDIAN, UK (WORLD NEWS)

Philippines drug crackdown prompts warning from ICC Friday 14 October 2016 09.33 BST Last modified on Friday 14 October 2016 22.01 BST Share on LinkedIn Share on Google+ Share on WhatsApp Share on Messenger

International court prosecutor says she is deeply concerned in statement apparently aimed at President Rodrigo Duterte


Rodrigo Duterte: Duterte’s crackdown has left an estimated 3,000 people dead. Photograph: Francis R Malasig/EPA
Associated Press


The international criminal court’s chief prosecutor has said she is “deeply concerned” about reports of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers and users in the Philippines.

Fatou Bensouda also said that statements by “high officials” in the Asian nation “seem to condone such killings”.

Bensouda’s written statement appeared to be aimed as a blunt warning to the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, whose anti-drug crackdown has left an estimated 3,000 people allegedly involved in the drug trade dead.

The Philippines is a member state of the international criminal court, the world’s first global court prosecuting war crimes and crimes against humanity, so crimes committed there could be prosecuted at the institution, which is based in The Hague.

“Any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any other manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable to prosecution before the court,” Bensouda said.


Read more here

In the Philippine capital, Manila, Duterte exuded confidence in a speech late on Thursday, saying he could easily parry any criminal investigation into the killings. He said he had written letters to invite the US president, Barack Obama, and secretary of state, John Kerry, and UN and EU officials to the Philippines to investigate him, but warned that he would publicly humiliate them by disproving their allegations.

As he had been a trial lawyer for eight years, “they cannot be brighter than me, believe me”, he said, adding that after he had been investigated, he should be allowed to grill his inquisitors.

“I will play with you in public. I will ask five questions that will humiliate you. And I will ask 10 questions for you to agree with me,” Duterte said in a speech at a business conference. “It would be a spectacle. You better watch it all … It will give you an entertainment.”

EU lawyers alleging he may be criminally liable for threatening criminals with death are “idiots”, Duterte said. He has said there is no Philippine law barring presidents from doing that.

Human rights advocates, however, say Duterte swore during his inauguration in June to ensure the execution of Philippine laws, some of which prohibit serious threats, especially death, towards people. The constitution also prohibits any cruel and inhumane punishments, including the death penalty.

Bensouda said her office would closely monitor developments in the Philippines in coming weeks with a view to establishing whether she should open a preliminary investigation.

Since becoming president in June, Duterte has drawn widespread criticism for his country’s deadly war on drugs.

Last week, the White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the US remained “deeply concerned by reports of widespread extrajudicial killings by or at the behest of government authorities in the Philippines. The use of that kind of tactic is entirely inconsistent with universal human rights and the shared values of our two countries.”

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RELATED(2) FROM THE TRIBUNE

No basis for ICC probe on Duterte, says Abella Written by Ted Tuvera Sunday, 16 October 2016 00:00


ABELLA

No basis, was the assessment of the Palace on the International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda warning against President Duterte that the deaths on the war on drugs may constitute a possible case against him in the international tribunal.

In a statement yesterday, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that the failed Senate probe initiated by Duterte’s top critic Senator Leila De Lima was enough to say that the ICC claim is already debunked.

“The recently concluded investigation by the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights on the alleged summary executions of crime suspects absolved President Rodrigo Duterte of any involvement in the killings, when he was still mayor and in the country now that he is President,” Abella said.

De Lima, however, said Duterte cannot hide behind the presidential immunity on suit if the ICC files a case against him for the alleged extrajudicial killings under his administration.

READ MORE...

“The ICC can always assume jurisdiction if they find enough sufficient basis to do so,” De Lima said.

“I do believe that most of those alleged summary killings are still really police or agents of the police so its systematic, its state-inspired, if not state-sponsored. If that is proven, presidential immunity does not apply,” she said.

Abella reiterated what Senate committee on justice and human rights chairman Senator Richard Gordon noted which was “there is no proof that the killings were state-sponsored.” The official report will be presented tomorrow.

During the Senate probe, De Lima broguht as witness a self-confessed hitman of the fabled Davao Death Squad (DDS), Edgar Matobato, who said that he accordingly received orders from former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to kill petty criminals and drug peddlers in his turf.

De Lima was eventually ousted as chairman of the Senate Committee while Matobato was met with series of criminal raps.

Earlier this week, Matobato’s lawyer said that the hitman is mulling to file “crimes against humanity” charges versus Duterte before the ICC.

But Presidential spokesman Abella said that President Duterte is confident that if ever any attempts to prosecute him before the international forum succeeds, saying that it will eventually sideline the negative views pitched against the administration’s war on drugs.

“Nevertheless the President has stated that he is willing to submit himself for investigation before any body. If any of these prosper, and within agreed upon parameters, it should lay to rest the undue attention the Philippine campaign against drugs has been subject to, and focus on the second phase of regarding the matter as a Public Health, Social and Economic issue,” Abella said.

“In effect, what is being waged is a social revolution of making right the wrongs that have been embedded over generations and past administrations,” he added.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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