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DUTERTE UNFAZED BY U.S. 'STOPPING SALE OF RIFLES TO PH'
[RELATED from the Nikkei Asian Review: Tracing the roots of Duterte's anti-US stance]

[RELATED(2): Duterte says he'll consider sticking with US weapons if his military recommends so]
("I have good impressions of America but the problem is I have lost my respect, that's why I'm bad-mouthing them," he said. "These Americans never learned their lesson with their interventions.")


NOVEMBER 2 -President Rodrigo Duterte is unfazed by reports that the US State Department has stopped the sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippines for the use of the PNP. "Karaming de bomba dito," Duterte told reporters, indicating that the Philippines didn't need to buy the rifles from the US. "Remember what the Russian diplomat said? Come to Russia. We have everything you need," he added. Duterte has repeatedly said in his speeches that he met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Laos and the leader indicated that Russia was ready to help. Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev, in an exclusive interview with GMA News, said as much. "Please formulate your wish list. What kind of assistance do you expect from Russia and we will be ready to sit down with you and discuss what can and should be done," Khovaev told GMA News' Rida Reyes in an exclusive interview. READ MORE...RELATED,
Tracing the roots of Duterte's anti-US stance...RELATED(2)Duterte says he'll consider sticking with US weapons if his military recommends so...

ALSO HALT OF ARMS DEAL WITH PH: U.S. bullying PH—Lacson
("Not a scare tactic but a bully attitude" says Senator Lacson)
[RELATED: Trillanes - Who’s the real bully? US or Duterte?]
[RELATED(2): Trillanes claims more than 10 senators ‘unhappy’ with Duterte presidency]


NOVEMBER 2 -Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chair Sen. Panfilo Lacson. TARRA QUISMUNDO/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
Not a scare tactic, but a “bully attitude” by the United States toward the Philippines. This was how Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson reacted on Wednesday to President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that the US’ decision to stop its planned sale of 26,000 firearms to the Philippines was a scare tactic.
READ: US stops sale of assault rifles to PNP “Yan lang pantakot nya sa akin. Hindi sya magpapabili ng armas? E karaming de bomba dito (It’s a scare tactic. The US won’t sell firearms to us? There are many airguns here),” Duterte was quoted in the media as saying. But Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, had a different opinion. “No, it was not a scare tactic but a bully attitude towards a longtime ally which is not fair to say the least, being an equally sovereign state,” the senator said in a text message. “Prudence dictates that the state department should first show a conclusive investigation that says what Sen. Cardin has alleged before issuing a statement banning the sale of assault rifles to our uniformed services,” he said. READ MORE...RELATED, Trillanes: Who’s the real bully? US or Duterte?... RELATED(2)Trillanes claims more than 10 senators ‘unhappy’ with Duterte presidency...

ALSO Sotto chides Trillanes for referring to some senators as Duterte ‘apologists’ [RELATED: Senators slam Trillanes for calling colleagues Duterte apologists]


NOVEMBER 5 -Provided by GMA News Online Photo from (facebook: TITO SEN) Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Thursday chided Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for referring to some colleagues as “apologists” of President Rodrigo Duterte. “The term apologist is uncalled for dahil pwedeng a senator [is] merely airing his opinion. Ang sabi nga, ‘to each his own.’ Walang pakialamanan ng opinion,” Sotto said in a text message. Sotto also said he was unaware of Trillanes’ claim that more than 10 senators are “unhappy” with the Duterte presidency. “I don’t know where he got his count but that’s his opinion so let him say what he wants,” Sotto said. According to Trillanes, over 10 of his colleagues were unhappy with “how things are going” under the Duterte administration, while others were turning out to be “apologists” of the President. READ MORE...RELATED, Senators slam Trillanes for calling colleagues Duterte apologists...

ALSO: Malaysian PM also pivots toward China
[RELATED: A Slow Malaysian Turn Towards China Could Become a Reality]


NOVEMBER 1 AFP -Malaysia PM signs defence deal in tilt toward China -AFP November 1, 2016/ In this photo Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak leaves Finance Ministry to unveil the 2017 financial budget to the Parliament, in Putrajaya on October 21, 2016 (AFP Photo/Manan Vatsyayana) YAHOO ASIA FILE BEIJING: Malaysia’s premier on Tuesday begins an official visit to China where he will sign a “significant” defense deal,” in a potential strategic shift as his ties with the United States fray over a corruption scandal. The week-long trip by Prime Minister Najib Razak marks another potential blow for Washington’s “pivot” toward Asia, two weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte of longtime US ally the Philippines visited China with olive branch in hand. Malaysia and China will be finalising “the first significant defence deal” between the two countries during his visit, Najib told Chinese state news agency Xinhua, giving no details. A total of 10 agreements spanning business, defense and other spheres will be signed, Malaysia has said.
Najib said last week Malaysia and China “are committed to achieving new highs and entering into new areas of cooperation.” READ MORE...RELATED,
A Slow Malaysian Turn Towards China Could Become a Reality...

ALSO: Duterte rejects nuclear energyuse in PH - Maybe someday, not during my       presidency'
[RELATED: ANALYSIS -A closer look at President Rodrigo Roa Duterte]


NOVEMBER 2 -Duterte rejects use of nuclear energy in PH
President Rodrigo Duterte last Monday night said the use of nuclear energy would not happen during his presidency. “Maybe someday [but] not during my presidency,” Duterte said in an interview at the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Davao City. The President said the use of nuclear energy must be studied carefully and the government must come up with safeguards in case of nuclear explosions. “Huwag muna ngayon kasi (I guess now is not a good time because) we have to come up with safeguards. Really, really tight safeguards to assure that there will be no disasters if there is a nuclear leak or explosion somewhere in the nuclear reactors that we will build in,” he said. “It has to be studied carefully by Congress and by the Filipino people. For after all, pag may leak ‘yan, pag mag ano, lahat tayo tatamaan diyan (if there is a nuclear leak, we would all be affected) and it’s our country, remember that,” he added.
READ MORE...RELATED, A closer look at President Rodrigo Roa Duterte...

ALSO: Duterte confirms FVR resignation as special envoy to China

[RELATED: Duterte aides ‘surprised’ by FVR departure]

[RELATED(2): 'My tirades vs the US is in defense of the PH's dignity; my mentor [FVR] did not understand that']
(President Rodrigo Duterte described former President Fidel V. Ramos, the person who inspired him to seek the presidency, as an “American boy,” shortly after accepting his resignation as the country’s special envoy to China.)


NOVEMBER 2 -
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night confirmed the resignation of former President Fidel V. Ramos as special envoy to China. Duterte made the confirmation during his visit to his parents' grave in Davao City. "I received his (resignation) last night. I had a copy of his resignation," Duterte said. He thanked Ramos for his service. "First, I'd like to thank him for helping me and for being of service to the nation despite his age," Duterte said. Duterte also said that he would take Ramos' advice. However, he cautioned that he has his own way of assessing things. "Second, I take his advice, but I have my own way of assessing it," the president said. Ramos was named special envoy to China in July, days after the Philippines won an international arbitral ruling against China's maritime claims in the South China Sea.READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte aides ‘surprised’ by FVR departure... RELATED(2), 'My tirades vs the US is in defense of the PH's dignity; my mentor [FVR] did not understand that'...


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INVOKES RUSSIAN OFFER: Duterte unfazed by US ‘stopping sale of rifles to PHL’


President Rodrigo Duterte is unfazed by reports that the US State Department has stopped the sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippines for the use of the PNP.

MANILA, NOVEMBER 7, 2016 (GMA NEWS)  Published November 1, 2016 11:10pm - "Karaming de bomba dito," Duterte told reporters, indicating that the Philippines didn't need to buy the rifles from the US.

"Remember what the Russian diplomat said? Come to Russia. We have everything you need," he added.

Duterte has repeatedly said in his speeches that he met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Laos and the leader indicated that Russia was ready to help.

Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev, in an exclusive interview with GMA News, said as much.

"Please formulate your wish list. What kind of assistance do you expect from Russia and we will be ready to sit down with you and discuss what can and should be done," Khovaev told GMA News' Rida Reyes in an exclusive interview.

READ MORE...

He said Russia is open to cooperation with the Philippines.

"It includes any area, any field of possible cooperation," Khovaev said.

‘PHL can buy somewhere else’

Malacañang earlier Tuesday said the Philippine government could find other sources of assault rifles for the national police if the United States would stop the planned transaction.

In a text message to reporters, Presidential Communications Office head Secretary Andanar said he had yet to find out what the PNP planned to do next but added that the government could find other means to complete the procurement.

"I will have to talk to the PNP and find out their next move. In any case, I am sure our government can procure somewhere else," he said.

A high-ranking police official, however, said the PNP had yet to receive official word from the US on the reported decision to stop the sale.

“We have not received any official communication yet,” Director Benjamin Magalong, deputy chief for operations, said in a text message.

The issue on the rifle procurement, supposedly for the PNP, was between the US State Department and Senator Ben Cardin, Andanar said.

A Reuters report cited sources saying that Cardin opposed the sale because of concerns about human rights violations in the Philippines.

The US State Department and President Barack Obama have previously expressed concern over the spate of drug-related killings under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

US Senator Patrick Leahy also previously warned that assistance to the Philippines may be stopped if the drug-related killings continue to soar.

He is the author of Leahy Law, which makes sure that US is not complicit in human rights violations committed by countries that receive aid. —NB, GMA News

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

RELATED FROM NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW

Tracing the roots of Duterte's anti-US stance October 31, 2016 6:30 pm JST JUN ENDO, Nikkei staff writer


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends Philippines Economic Forum in Tokyo on Oct.26. © Reuters

MANILA -- Another week, another rant from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who continued his anti-U.S. tirade while in Japan last week. The remarks are unlikely to affect the tremendous popularity Duterte enjoys at home, but will add to growing international concerns.

The U.S. withdrew its military installations from the country by 1992, due in part to local resentment. With the U.S. presence in Asia changing, China has stepped up maritime expansion in the region.

In 2014, the U.S. and the Philippines concluded an agreement to bolster the two countries' military alliance, effectively paving the way for the return of U.S. troops to the Philippines.

People close to Duterte say his stance can be traced back to his time as mayor of Davao on the southern island of Mindanao.

BACK IN 2002

Back in 2002, an explosion occurred in a hotel room in the city, injuring it's American occupant, Michael Meiring. Local police concluded that the blast was caused by explosives in Meiring's possession.

A few days later, men carrying FBI badges removed Meiring from the hospital where he was being treated and allowed him to leave the country without permission from local authorities, according to Duterte.

The U.S. Embassy is said to have arranged the flight carrying Meiring, an alleged FBI agent himself.

The American ambassador to the Philippines at that time promised a thorough investigation and that a report would be submitted to Duterte, the Philippine leader told reporters on Oct. 21 before his trip to Japan.

The report never materialized, which constituted an insult to the Philippines, he added.

Some analysts trace Duterte's anti-American attitude even further.

As a student in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he is said to have belonged to a leftist group, when anti-Vietnam War movements across the world were in full-swing.

Jose Maria Sison, the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, was one of his teachers at college.

The Duterte cabinet also includes certain members recommended by the communist party.

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

RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte says he'll consider sticking with US weapons By Bullit Marquez (Associated Press) | Updated November 3, 2016 - 8:23am 1 175 googleplus0 0


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the crowd during his visit to Sual township, Pangasinan province in northern Philippines, to send off arrested 17 Vietnamese fishermen Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. The Vietnamese fishermen were arrested allegedly for poaching in Philippine waters on Sept. 8, 2016 but were released Wednesday. AP/Bullit Marquez

SUAL, Philippines — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he'll consider continuing to acquire weapons and defense equipment from treaty ally the United States if his military recommends so, despite offers from China and Russia.

Duterte made the remark in a speech in which he again railed at the U.S. with expletives for criticizing his deadly anti-drug crackdown, calling American officials "monkeys" and breaking a promise that he would no longer resort to trash talk.

Duterte, who took office in June, has been antagonistic to U.S., EU and U.N. officials who have raised human rights concerns over his brutal crackdown on illegal drug sellers and users and called for an end to extrajudicial killings.

He has used expletives in responding to their criticisms, telling President Barack Obama to "go to hell" in an outburst last month. He has declared his intention to scale back his country's military engagements with Washington, including ending largescale joint combat exercises and the presence of visiting U.S. forces, while reaching out to expand once-frosty relations with China and Russia.

U.S. officials, however, say they have not been formally notified by the Philippines of any change in security relations and activities and stress that Washington wants to continue its decades-long alliance with Manila.

Asked about Duterte's latest tirade, State Department spokesman John Kirby said it was inexplicably at odds with the close relationship that the U.S. continues to have with the Philippine government and people. He said that in a democracy, government "doesn't rest on the shoulders of just one individual."

"There are long standing relationships that we have nurtured over the years with figures in his government, and those relationships are still there, and they're still vibrant," Kirby told reporters, adding that the U.S. remains committed to developing a good working relationship with Duterte himself.

Duterte said he has asked his defense secretary and military officials to travel to China and Russia to check what weapons and defense equipment they have to offer, but added that the military's recommendation will be crucial.

"China is open. Anything you want. They even sent me a brochure, telling me to choose and they will provide," Duterte said.

"I'm just holding off because I'm looking at the military," he said. "If you want to stick with America, fine, but assess it well and find a balance because we are being ridiculed."

POIGNANT SEND-OFF FOR VIETNAMESE [ILLEGAL] POACHERS

The brash president traveled to a wharf in Sual town in the northwestern province of Pangasinan to lead a poignant send-off ceremony for 17 Vietnamese fishermen who were arrested last month for poaching in local waters. The complaints were dropped after the Vietnamese said a typhoon forced their three boats toward the northern Philippines and that they had no intention of poaching.

Duterte said his Vietnamese counterpart appealed for the fishermen's release and Wednesday's ceremony — in which he shook hands with the fishermen and handed each a bag filled with food, a raincoat and toiletries — showed how Asians resolve problems.

"Vietnam drove the Americans away in humiliation," Duterte said, using the ceremony to criticize U.S. actions that he said brought countries like Iraq, Syria and Libya to chaos and civil strife.

"I have good impressions of America but the problem is I have lost my respect, that's why I'm bad-mouthing them," he said. "These Americans never learned their lesson with their interventions." ___

Associated Press writers Jim Gomez in Manila and Matthew Pennington in Washington contributed to this report.


INQUIRER

HALT OF ARMS DEAL WITH PH: US bullying PH—Lacson By: Maila Ager / @MAgerINQ
INQUIRER.net / 12:17 PM November 02, 2016


Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chair Sen. Panfilo Lacson. TARRA QUISMUNDO/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Not a scare tactic, but a “bully attitude” by the United States toward the Philippines.

This was how Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson reacted on Wednesday to President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that the US’ decision to stop its planned sale of 26,000 firearms to the Philippines was a scare tactic.

READ: US stops sale of assault rifles to PNP

“Yan lang pantakot nya sa akin. Hindi sya magpapabili ng armas? E karaming de bomba dito (It’s a scare tactic. The US won’t sell firearms to us? There are many airguns here),” Duterte was quoted in the media as saying.

But Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, had a different opinion.

“No, it was not a scare tactic but a bully attitude towards a longtime ally which is not fair to say the least, being an equally sovereign state,” the senator said in a text message.

“Prudence dictates that the state department should first show a conclusive investigation that says what Sen. Cardin has alleged before issuing a statement banning the sale of assault rifles to our uniformed services,” he said.

READ MORE...


CARDIN

Lacson was referring to top Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin, who had reportedly expressed his plan to oppose the arms deal amid reports of human rights violations in the Philippines.

Recognizing that the US’ decision might disrupt the implementation of the PNP’s Capability Enhancement Program (CEP), the senator urged the police to start shopping in other territories for its armament requirements.

He reiterated that the Philippines could buy firearms from other countries.

READ: Lacson, Sotto shrug off reported halt of US-PH arms deal

“Taiwan for example has stopped buying their police firearms from the US and is now procuring their standard 9mm pistols from Germany which they say are better and more suitable to their law enforcement needs. There are other sources like Israel, Belgium, even Russia and China,” Lacson said.

Lacson previously headed the PNP during the time of then President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada. RAM

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Trillanes: Who’s the real bully? US or Duterte? By: Maila Ager / @MAgerINQ INQUIRER.net / 03:22 PM November 03, 2016


Senator Antonio Trillanes. NOY MORCOSO/INQUIRER.net

Who’s the real bully, the United States or President Rodrigo Duterte?

This was how Senator Antonio Trillanes IV countered on Thursday Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson’s statement that the US’ reported decision to stop the planned sale of assault rifles to the Philippines was not a scare tactic but a “bully attitude” by the Americans.

READ: US bullying PH—Lacson

“Napakadali nilang ituro sa iba no pero yung nandito sa ating bayan na pinapatay yung kapwa natin, si President Duterte, ni hindi nila masabihan ng kahit na ano (It’s easy for them to point to others but they can’t accuse President Duterte of anything amid the people who were killed in our country),” Trillanes said during the Kapihan sa Senado.

“Sino ang tunay na bully dito? Hindi nga bully, mamatay tao pa e (Who’s the real bully? Not only a bully but a killer),” added the senator, who is accusing Duterte of allegedly behind the extrajudicial killings in the country and the so-called Davao Death Squad.

READ: Duterte behind summary killings in PH, Trillanes insists

Trillanes reiterated that the reported scrapping of the arms deal with the Philippines was an indication that the international community was not happy with what is happening in the country, particularly the reported human rights abuses.

He said there was no debate on the government’s war on illegal drugs but the issue on how to deal with it.

“Ang pinag uusapan dito, ano yung approach mo? Ni ngayon wala ka pang nakikitang wholistic program e on how to deal with drugs. Ang sinasabi lang patayin, patayin. Sa akin mali yan at bilang halal na opisyal ng gobyerno ay tinitindigan ko yan …” he said.

(We are talking about the approach. We haven’t seen a wholistic program on how to deal with drugs. All they say are these drug pushers and users should be killed. For me it’s wrong and as an elected official of the government, I would stand up to it.)

Instead of belittling the criticisms of other nations, Trillanes said, Duterte’s “apologists” should admit that there was really something wrong with the present leadership. RAM/rga

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

RELATED(2) FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Trillanes claims more than 10 senators ‘unhappy’ with Duterte presidency Published November 3, 2016 2:16pm By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ, GMA News

More than 10 senators are “unhappy” with the Duterte presidency, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV claimed Thursday, as he lambasted some of his colleagues who are turning out to be “apologists” for the chief executive.

“Pinag-uusapan ito. For those who are not happy with how things are going, they choose, at least, not to be the apologist of the President. I appreciate that. Maaaring they are just giving him time to correct himself,” Trillanes told reporters in a press conference.

Asked how many senators were “unhappy,” Trillanes said, “Marami-rami din. More than 10.”

He also answered in the affirmative if some of the said senators were part of the Senate majority bloc.

Trillanes also criticized some of his colleagues who are supposedly turning out to be “apologists” for President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Naiintindihan ko pa kung quiet ka lang at tinatantsa mo 'yung sitwasyon. Maiintindihan ko ‘yun. Pero to be an apologist, ibang level 'yun,” he said.

“It’s either sumisipsip ka or natatakot ka mafile-an ng kaso or worse, you actually believe na tama 'yan,” Trillanes said referring to alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs) amid the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

Trillanes said coming up with alibis to justify the President’s wrong actions makes them an “enabler of evil deeds.”

“Bakit ba kayo tumakbo, para maging tuta ng isang administrasyon? Or para sabihin 'yung tama, itulak ‘yung tama?” he said.

Trillanes reiterated that he believes Duterte is behind the EJKs.

“Kung hindi siya ang nasa likod nito, bakit hindi niya mapigil? At instead, in-e-encourage pa niya 'yung killings,” he said.

Asked what his proof was, Trillanes cited the thousands of persons killed since his administration started in July.

The Senate justice committee conducted a probe on the alleged EJKs committed during the Duterte administration. It terminated its investigation on Oct. 13.

Senator Richard Gordon said neither Duterte nor his administration was behind the spate of alleged EJKs of drug suspects based on the testimonies presented before the Senate justice committee.

“Insofar as state-sponsored killings, I don’t believe it,” Gordon told reporters in an interview shortly after he terminated the Senate probe on drug-related killings in his capacity as chairman of the committee. —KG, GMA News


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Sotto chides Trillanes for referring to some senators as Duterte ‘apologists’ GMA News Online GMA News Online Jimenez, Raffy  NOVEMBER 5, 2016

 
Provided by GMA News Online Photo from (facebook: TITO SEN)

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Thursday chided Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for referring to some colleagues as “apologists” of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The term apologist is uncalled for dahil pwedeng a senator [is] merely airing his opinion. Ang sabi nga, ‘to each his own.’ Walang pakialamanan ng opinion,” Sotto said in a text message.

Sotto also said he was unaware of Trillanes’ claim that more than 10 senators are “unhappy” with the Duterte presidency.

“I don’t know where he got his count but that’s his opinion so let him say what he wants,” Sotto said.

According to Trillanes, over 10 of his colleagues were unhappy with “how things are going” under the Duterte administration, while others were turning out to be “apologists” of the President.

READ MORE...

Trillanes did not disclose the names of the concerned senators.

“Bakit ba kayo tumakbo, para maging tuta ng isang administrasyon? Or para sabihin 'yung tama, itulak ‘yung tama?” Trillanes said.

Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said “senators should be speaking for themselves.”

Neophyte Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, for his part, cited Duterte’s high approval and trust ratings.

"That means the people are quite satisfied with his performance and they trust him,” Gatchalian said in a text message.

He said he also has no information as to whom Trillanes was referring to. — Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez/RSJ, GMA News

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Senators slam Trillanes for calling colleagues Duterte apologists By: Maila Ager / @MAgerINQ
INQUIRER.net / 10:41 AM November 04, 2016

Senators protested on Friday a colleague’s statement that some of them are “apologists” of President Rodrigo Duterte, saying it was “uncalled for” and “absurd.

During a forum in the Senate on Thursday, Trillanes lamented that some of his colleagues have already become the President’s apologists “trying to cover and offer alibis” for Duterte.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III called the remark “uncalled for.”

“Yung (The) term apologist is uncalled for dahil pwedeng (because it’s possible that) a senator is also merely airing his opinion. Ang sabi nga (As they say), ‘to each his own,’ walang pakialamanan ng opinion.”

Trillanes’ statement did not also sit well with Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, a member of the majority bloc in the Senate.

“Senators should learn how to respect colleagues. That is parliamentary courtesy,” Ejercito said in a separate text message.

“We all were given our respective mandates and therefore we are accountable to the people. It will be absurd to call senators as apologists,” he added.

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson took to Twitter to express his sentiments, also in an apparent reaction on the issue.

“Bakit kailangang lahat kaming kasama nyang senador magalit din sa presidenteng ayaw nya at kapag hindi, walang kwenta lahat kami? Ano yun?” Lacson wrote in his Twitter account Thursday night.

(Why should we, his colleagues, be also mad at the president he disagrees with, and in not doing be deemed worthless as well? What’s that?)

READ: Over 10 senators unhappy with admin, some are Duterte apologists—Trillanes

HONASAN

Senator Gringo Honasan cited a tradition in the chamber not to comment on their colleagues’ actions and motives “because we are a collegial and consensual body.”

“We are a democracy where opinions and comments are welcome, as we all engage in the free market of vision, ideas and leadership,” Honasan said.

“We also have a tradition in the Senate that we never comment on our colleagues’ actions and motives because we are a collegial and consensual body,” he added.

During the same forum, Trillanes also claimed that more than 10 senators were “not happy” with the directions of the present administration.

Reacting to this, Sotto said: “I don’t know where he got his count but that’s his opinion so let him say what he wants.”

GATCHALIAN - PEOPLE ARE VERY SSATISFIED WITH DUTERTE SO FAR

Neophyte Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said he was not aware who the senators Trillanes was referring to were.

“But so far, P-Digong’s (Duterte) approval rating is 86% and his trust rating is 86% also in the most recent Pulse Asia survey,” Gatchalian said in another text message.

“That means the people are quite satisfied with his performance and they trust him,” he said.

Asked if he was happy with how Duterte runs the country, Gatchalian said what was important was the general sentiment of the Filipino people as recorded by the surveys.

“The numbers will speak for [themselves] at least for now. So far, the President is delivering on his promise to get rid of illegal drugs and suppress criminality.”

“However, I would like to see proposals to sustain this promise. It should not be [hinged] on one man. It has to be institutionalized,” Gatchalian added. CDG/rga


MANILA TIMES

Malaysian PM also pivots toward China BY AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE ON ON NOVEMBER 2, 2016 TOP STORIES


NOVEMBER 1 AFP -Malaysia PM signs defence deal in tilt toward China -AFP November 1, 2016/ In this photo Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak leaves Finance Ministry to unveil the 2017 financial budget to the Parliament, in Putrajaya on October 21, 2016 (AFP Photo/Manan Vatsyayana) YAHOO ASIA FILE

BEIJING: Malaysia’s premier on Tuesday begins an official visit to China where he will sign a “significant” defense deal,” in a potential strategic shift as his ties with the United States fray over a corruption scandal.

The week-long trip by Prime Minister Najib Razak marks another potential blow for Washington’s “pivot” toward Asia, two weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte of longtime US ally the Philippines visited China with olive branch in hand.

Malaysia and China will be finalising “the first significant defence deal” between the two countries during his visit, Najib told Chinese state news agency Xinhua, giving no details.

A total of 10 agreements spanning business, defense and other spheres will be signed, Malaysia has said.
Najib said last week Malaysia and China “are committed to achieving new highs and entering into new areas of cooperation.”

READ MORE...

Last month in Beijing, Duterte stunned observers by announcing his country’s “separation” from longstanding partner the United States.

Though he subsequently backed off, saying their alliance remained intact, the episode underlined China’s increasing diplomatic and economic gravitational pull at the expense of the US.

Najib’s visit provides fresh evidence, said Southeast Asia politics analyst Bridget Welsh.

“This is the new regional norm. Now China is implementing the power and the US is in retreat,” she said, adding Washington’s Asia “pivot” was “dead in the water.”

China welcomes Najib, who arrived Monday, with a state dinner Tuesday night in Beijing, followed by a meeting with Premier Li Keqiang.

Later this week, Najib will meet President Xi Jinping, as well as Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Drawn into China’s arms

Taking office in 2009, Najib reached out to Washington, and relations warmed following decades of periodic distrust.

But he has increasingly leaned toward China as it became Malaysia’s biggest trading partner, and especially after the eruption last year of a massive corruption scandal implicating Najib and a state investment fund he founded.

Billions are alleged to have been syphoned from the fund, 1MDB, in a stunning international campaign of embezzlement and money-laundering that has sparked investigations in several countries.

Najib’s ties with Washington became strained when the US Justice Department moved in July to seize more than $1 billion in assets it says were purchased by Najib relatives and associates using stolen 1MDB money.

Justice Department filings said a “Malaysian Official 1” took part in the looting. Malaysia has since admitted that official was Najib.

Najib and 1MDB deny wrongdoing and have railed at foreign forces they say concocted the scandal.

1MDB launched a fire sale of assets to stay solvent, and China’s biggest nuclear energy producer China General Nuclear Power Corporation came to the rescue last year, purchasing its power assets for $2.3 billion.

Welsh said the trip could result in “multiple billions of dollars in deals” for Najib’s cash-strapped government.

Depressed oil prices have slashed government revenue in energy-exporting Malaysia, which also faces rising public-sector debt.

“This trip reflects not only Malaysia’s geostrategic re-alignment to China as the ‘regional banker’ but also the reality that Najib is desperate for alternative financial sources,” Welsh said.

A key question is whether there will be a “quid pro quo” in which Malaysia sides more with Beijing rather than the US on strategic issues like South China Sea territorial disputes, she said.

China has increasingly won major infrastructure and other projects in Malaysia, and Chinese companies are widely expected to be handed a planned high-speed rail project linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and expected to cost up to $15 billion.

Lashed

But Malaysia’s opposition and Twitterati lashed at Najib after images showed he was accompanied on an official trip to China by his stepson, who US authorities have fingered in a massive embezzlement scam.

In images on Twitter, Riza Aziz is seen emerging along with Najib from his delegation’s official plane after it arrived in Beijing on Monday.

The US Justice Department said in lawsuits filed in July that more than $200 million was funneled to Riza from a state investment fund that Najib founded called 1MDB.

1MDB is now the subject of investigations in several countries across the globe amid allegations that Najib, his relatives, and associates plundered billions from it.

The Justice Department, which seeks to recover more than $1 billion in property and assets it says were purchased using stolen 1MDB money, said Riza used the syphoned millions to buy luxury real estate and fund his film production company, Red Granite Pictures.

The diverted funds were used specifically to bankroll the Hollywood film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

“Not only do we have to bear (the cost) of the expensive jet, but now he (Najib) is bringing his stepson, whom the whole world is looking for in relation to 1MDB monies,” opposition lawmaker Rafizi Ramli was quoted as saying in parliament.

“Riza shouldn’t be given special treatment using the people’s funds. He should be arrested and questioned.”

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RELATED FROM COGIT ASIA BLOG
ASEAN, BUSINESS, CHINA, ECONOMICS, ENERGY, JAPAN, MALAYSIA, NAJIB, PHILIPPINES, SOUTH CHINA SEA, TPP, UNITED STATES, VIETNAM


A Slow Malaysian Turn Towards China Could Become a Reality By Lance Jackson — by cogitASIA Staff • November 1, 2016 • 0 Comments 

 
Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia traveled to China on October 31, 2016. Source: Firdausjongket's flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak traveled to China October 31 on a six-day visit, his fifth as head of government. Before leaving for China, Najib emphasized that he was “committed to achieving new highs and entering into new areas of cooperation” with China.

Najib has lived up to his word, as the two nations in the first two days of his visit signed $34 billion worth of business arrangements. In light of the pivot the Philippines appears to be making away from the United States and its warming of relations with China, these developments may seem somewhat ominous for the U.S. rebalance to Asia.

However, there probably is little need for immediate concern. Malaysia has always taken a pragmatic approach in balancing relations between the United States and China, a balancing act the nation can be expected to maintain in the immediate future. Najib’s comments do not suggest a major policy shift, as China and Malaysia have long maintained a special relationship.

In June, in an op-ed by the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia, he noted the “time-honored friendship” between the two nations. It was Najib’s father, former prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein, who was the first Southeast Asian leader to establish relations with China in 1974.

History aside, Chinese influence is growing in Malaysia. China has emerged as Malaysia’s largest trading partner. In 2015, China also became Malaysia’s largest foreign investor after Chinese state-owned-enterprises acquired nearly $4 billion in energy and real estate assets from the heavily indebted 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) state investment fund. Chinese investments also included large scale infrastructure projects, like a deep-water port to be constructed in the Strait of Malacca and the east coast rail link, a project awarded to China during Najib’s visit.

Growing Chinese influence is not without its controversies and detractors. Last year, China’s association with Chinese Malaysians led to a short diplomatic spat between the two countries following controversial comments made by the Chinese ambassador to the Chinese community, ahead of a rally planned by a Malay-dominated pro-government group over the lack of a Malay business presence in the Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur.

The ambassador reportedly said that China opposes “any form of discrimination against races and any form of extremism.” Amid accusations of Chinese interference in Malaysia’s domestic affairs, he was summoned by Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry to clarify his remarks.

NAJIB CRITICIZED

Najib has also been criticized by former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad for allowing Chinese firms to acquire Malaysian energy assets from 1MDB, of which Najib originally served as chairman. In his criticism, Mahathir said, “Here are power plants belonging to Malaysians – and you buy it up and sell it to another nation. That is wrong.”

Chinese influence on Malaysia’s South China Sea policies is often overstated. While numerous ties between the two countries prevent disagreements between the two states from taking center-stage, Malaysia is far from complacent in defending its interests. Its tactics are not as confrontational as those of Vietnam or the Philippines under former president Benigno Aquino III, but Kuala Lumpur’s signals come across clearly nonetheless.

For example, Malaysia allowed heavy criticism of China when it chaired the 2015 East Asia Summit. Malaysia’s prominent treatment of the South China Sea issues in its chairmen statement ignored China’s lobbying to keep the issues out of the multilateral discussions. Earlier this month, Najib made it clear that deepening Malaysia-China ties did not mean compromising on the nation’s territorial claims, when he said, “Even though we have strong relations with China in terms of economy, we still hold on to the principle of sovereignty.”

Malaysia has gone about protecting its sovereignty in the South China Sea in a very pragmatic manner. Even though Malaysia and the United States have converging interests in the South China Sea, the U.S. investigation of the 1MDB scandal and Malaysia’s recent scrapping of the development of an amphibious corps backed by the U.S. Marines have dampened some U.S.-Malaysian military cooperation.

However, Malaysia recently deepened ties with Japan and Vietnam, the region’s most vocal China critics. In 2015, Malaysia and Japan entered into a strategic partnership and started talks on transfers of defense equipment and technology. More recently, Malaysia and Vietnam upgraded military ties by establishing a high level committee chaired by the defense ministers of each country. During a press conference on the increased military ties, Malaysia’s defense minister Hishammuddin Hussein explicitly mentioned that he and his Vietnamese counterpart discussed “efforts to safeguard safety and security of our maritime zones, particularly in the South China Sea.”

POLITICAL GAMBIT

Recent oscillations in Malaysia’s foreign policy are better understood as a political gambit on Najib’s part rather than an abrupt change in the country’s geostrategic calculations. Najib has been beset by scandal for much of his tenure as prime minister and, according to the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, “Malaysia is in desperate need for investment and the government needs to find new investors.”

China is Najib’s ally on both issues. Chinese investments have helped stabilize the debt-ridden 1MDB fund. Moreover, as SISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, a Singaporean think tank, points out, Chinese investment is necessary for achieving the sustainable economic growth that is needed to return Najib’s party to power after the elections due by 2018.

If Malaysia is making a slow turn towards China it is based on a pragmatic calculation. For the time being, China’s economic might is trumping security concerns in the South China Sea, while it is unclear if the United States is a reliable economic counterbalance. The next U.S. administration may not emphasize Asia as much as President Barack Obama and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the major U.S. economic initiative in the region, remains in political limbo. Singaporean prime minister Lee Hsien Loong warned recently of “very big setbacks for America” should U.S. lawmakers reject the TPP. A more China oriented Malaysia could be among these setbacks.

Mr. Lance Jackson is a researcher with the Southeast Asia Program at CSIS.


INQUIRER

Duterte rejects use of nuclear energy in PH By: Nestor Corrales / @NCorralesINQ INQUIRER.net / 03:21 PM November 02, 2016


Duterte rejects use of nuclear energy in PH

President Rodrigo Duterte last Monday night said the use of nuclear energy would not happen during his presidency.

“Maybe someday [but] not during my presidency,” Duterte said in an interview at the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Davao City.

The President said the use of nuclear energy must be studied carefully and the government must come up with safeguards in case of nuclear explosions.

“Huwag muna ngayon kasi (I guess now is not a good time because) we have to come up with safeguards. Really, really tight safeguards to assure that there will be no disasters if there is a nuclear leak or explosion somewhere in the nuclear reactors that we will build in,” he said.

“It has to be studied carefully by Congress and by the Filipino people. For after all, pag may leak ‘yan, pag mag ano, lahat tayo tatamaan diyan (if there is a nuclear leak, we would all be affected) and it’s our country, remember that,” he added.

READ MORE...

Duterte said the Philippines still has enough power supply.

“Wala pa talaga tayo (We are not yet in) danger zone that we will die if there’s no energy,” he said.

In September, senators visited the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) to examine whether the 40-year-old could still be used or the government needs to build a new nuclear power plant.

READ: Senators split on using idle nuclear plant

Energy Secratry Alfonso Cusi earlier said that nuclear power is “a good option” for the Philippines.

READ: Nuclear power ‘a good option’ for PH—Cusi

Cusi said Department of Energy (DOE) has initiated a study on the possible utility of the mothballed BNPP. RAM

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RELATED FROM THE MANIL TIMES (ANALYSIS)

A closer look at President Rodrigo Roa Duterte BY DR. DANTE A. ANG ON ON NOVEMBER 2, 2016 OPINION ON PAGE ONE


DR. DANTE A. ANG, Manila Times Chairman Emeritus

TOKYO, JAPAN: What makes President Rodrigo Roa Duterte tick? What is it about him that despite his vulgar and profane language and unpresidential demeanor, his popularity and the people’s trust in him have not diminished?

A caveat: I am neither a medical practitioner nor a psychiatrist so that my opinion of the man carries no medical weight whatsoever. I will attempt to divine him from the point of view of a former Public Relations practitioner who had handled politicians of note during past elections.

Duterte is no angel. He doesn’t claim to be, in fairness to him. That we already know since his name first cropped up as a presidential wannabe months before the start of the filing of the certificate of candidacy for the 2016 presidential elections.

As early as when he was still mayor of Davao City, he was accused of heading the dreaded Davao Death Squad (DDS), yet Davaeños speak glowingly, admiringly of him for maintaining peace in Davao by ridding it of drugs and criminality.

On the campaign trail, he cursed the Catholic Church, Pope Francis and fantasized about abusing a beautiful Australian missionary who was gang-raped and killed in the hostage-taking drama inside the Davao Penal Colony in 1989.

His opponents and quite a number of political analysts said that Duterte had imploded and had written him off for the presidential race. To their consternation, rather than implode, his poll numbers continued its upward trajectory.

Duterte confounds his allies and detractors alike. He possesses all of the No-Nos of a respected leader. He is profane, vulgar, amoral. He does not have a clear path to economic deliverance. His campaign against drugs does not distinguish between the user and the pusher and the innocent bystander.

ADORED DESPITE NEGATIVES

Yet, despite all those negatives, people gravitate to him. They adore him. They are all too willing to turn a blind eye to his alleged abuses and excesses. Why?

Have we lost our moral compass? Have we lost our moral sense to distinguish between right and wrong?

Not at all.

Filipinos are God-fearing. They are also loving, compassionate and quick to forgive and forget. That they welcome Duterte’s profane language is a reflection of their frustration with the government and our leaders. Laughing at every “P—–inamo” allows them to release their anger at those who oppress them. At the airport, at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and in various government agencies, they are subjected to various levels of extortion and oppression and even humiliation.

EJK ISSUES

On the issue of extrajudicial killings, the people are solidly behind Duterte in his campaign to rid the country of illegal drugs despite the deaths of some innocent civilians. I know it is wrong. But it is not difficult to sympathize with a mother whose daughter of 12 or younger, was raped and killed by a drug user. Neither is it hard to feel for a poor family whose son or daughter who just graduated from college or just started to work was brutally slain by a neighborhood toughie who was high on drugs.

Duterte is highly intelligent. Years of being a mayor and congressman sharpened his natural talent of crowd control. His speech in Tokyo before more than 2,000 Filipinos was a classic illustration of his brilliance as a politician. He said nothing new. It was a refrain of his previous speeches before and during the campaign and in his first 100 days in office. No mention of policies, programs or vision for the country.

Instead, he mused and talked about his personal experience as a young man and laughed about himself – his follies and shortcomings. His audience would laugh as he self-deprecates. He has this cunning ability to connect with the crowd.

He would joke about his friends and some members of his Cabinet. He would tell the crowd why he had chosen them to be members of his official family. He would recall their YMCA days. In Lyceum where I first heard him speak before a group of students, he recalled his Lyceum days and said of his former classmates, “Sila matatalino. Mga 90 ang grade. Ako, pa-75-75 lang. Ok lang. [They’re all bright. Rating 90 percent. I used to get about 75 percent. That’s ok.]” And the audience would burst into uncontrollable laughter.

In Tokyo, Duterte did not make any policy speech, either. Neither did he mention a program of government that will impact the lives of the Filipinos living in Japan. But the audience did not mind at all. They wanted to hear the vintage Duterte and his signature “P” word. And they were not disappointed.

Looking at House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, he first asked him not to get mad at him, “Huwag kang magalit sa akin, ha.” (Don’t get mad at me, please.) And pointing his thumb at Alvarez, “Ito, (Alvarez), pareho kami dalawa” (meaning we both have two wives.) The audience laughed, clapped and cheered Duterte as if asking for more.

The crowd went wild when he advised them not to be cowed and make a scene if a policeman or customs official tries to extort money.“Pag hiningan kang pera, sampalin mo, murahin mo. P—–ina mo.” (If they try to extort money from you, slap him, curse him.) The crowd roars into laughter. “Pag may nakitang bala, ipakain mo sa kanya ang bala. P—–inamo, ipakain ko sa iyo ito.” [If he says he has found a bullet in your luggage, let him eat the bullet. ‘You SOB, I’ll have you eat this.’]” That finally brought the house down.

That’s precisely why they adore him. It is those words that our poor and battered returning Filipinos they themselves would want to tell the mulcting policemen and customs personnel at the airport but couldn’t. And it takes a Duterte to say it for them, to bring it out of their system.

FOLKSY DEMEANOR

They associate themselves with Duterte with his folksy demeanor. They fantasize about standing up to the corrupt policemen, customs personnel and politicians, cursing them and slapping them as Duterte advised. With every “P—–inamo,” that comes out of Duterte’s mouth, they are empowered. Surreal but it is the kind of mood that prevails in every Duterte gathering. Life imitating art.

And that’s what makes President Duterte a tough nut to crack. The masa are with him. And for as long as he is in the embrace of the people, he will be safe against the importunings of his detractors.

I hope, however, that the President does not miscalculate, for if he does, he would be bringing the more than 100 million Filipinos to perdition. That is why keeping the adage in mind, “For every action, there’s a corresponding reaction” should serve him in good stead.


ABS-CBN

Duterte confirms FVR resignation as special envoy to China Aaron Lozada, ABS-CBN News
Posted at Nov 01 2016 11:33 PM | Updated as of Nov 02 2016 05:07 AM

MANILA - (UPDATED) President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night confirmed the resignation of former President Fidel V. Ramos as special envoy to China.

Duterte made the confirmation during his visit to his parents' grave in Davao City.

"I received his (resignation) last night. I had a copy of his resignation," Duterte said.

He thanked Ramos for his service.

"First, I'd like to thank him for helping me and for being of service to the nation despite his age," Duterte said.

Duterte also said that he would take Ramos' advice. However, he cautioned that he has his own way of assessing things.

"Second, I take his advice, but I have my own way of assessing it," the president said.

Ramos was named special envoy to China in July, days after the Philippines won an international arbitral ruling against China's maritime claims in the South China Sea.

READ MORE...

Ramos accepted the offer and traveled to Hong Kong to meet some officials and old friends in the Chinese government.
Ramos recently criticized some of Duterte's policy pronouncements.

In his Manila Bulletin column published last Saturday, Ramos lashed out at Duterte for his refusal to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

COULD NOT AGREE PERSONALLY WITH CLIMATE CHANGE PACT

Duterte, however, emphasized that he agrees with the comments of the former president on protecting the environment, but emphasized that he just could not agree personally with the climate change pact since it is unfair to developing countries like the Philippines.

"He was correct, the only problem wala pa yung papel sakin," Duterte said of the climate change pact. "I cannot approve or disapprove something that is not on my table. Of course I have my misgivings, but those were misgivings."

"We are just trying, kakaumpisa pa lang natin, nagyaya ako ng maraming investor, tatayo ako ng industrial estates, there will be a lot of smoke there and pollution of course, titingnan ko lang na mayroon akong leeway, an elbow room to move because the treaty now that is being signed or passed around for signing is binding," Duterte explained.

(We have just started. I have invited a lot of investors to the country. I will build industrial estates and there will be a lot of smoke and pollution, of course. I want to know if there will be a leeway, an elbow room to move because the treaty now that is being signed or passed around for signing is binding.)

"I have to study the matter very carefully, maybe in the Senate, I was just giving my misgivings about, baka hanggang dito ka lang (it might be too limiting)," Duterte added.

PH LOST IN FIRST 100 DAYS

Ramos has also lamented that the Philippines lost badly during the first 100 days of the Duterte administration.

He said Duterte got "stuck in unending controversies about extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and in his ability at using cuss words and insults instead of civilized language."

"In the case of his recent 'Hitler quip' no amount of apology could mollify the long-suffering Jews who have done well for the Philippines," he said, citing how former President Manuel Quezon allowed 30,000 Jewish families to seek refuge in the Philippines.

Ramos also called out the "off-an-on statements" by Duterte and his officials on U.S.-Philippines relations, including his tirades against U.S. President Barack Obama, outgoing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the U.S.-Philippines military cooperation.

"So, what gives? Are we throwing away decades of military partnership, tactical proficiency, compatible weaponry, predictable logistic and soldier-to-soldier camaraderie just like that? On President Duterte's say-so?" he said.

A Ramos aide on Tuesday said the resignation had nothing to do with his view on Duterte's performance.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Duterte aides ‘surprised’ by FVR departure By: Marlon Ramos / @MRamosINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 06:42 AM November 02, 2016


Former President Fidel V. Ramos INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos’ resignation as special envoy to China has caught the government by surprise, presidential aides said on Tuesday even as they scrambled to play it down.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella confirmed Ramos submitted a letter to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea expressing his decision to quit from his post.

“But it will be up to [the President] whether to accept it or not,” Abella said.

This came shortly after Ramos publicly questioned the policies of Mr. Duterte, who has repeatedly cursed US President Barack Obama, the United Nations and the European Union for questioning his tough anti-drugs crackdown which has left more than 3,500 dead.

The 88-year-old former chief executive at the weekend also hit out at Mr. Duterte for opposing the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, calling it “obviously wrong and full of S**T!!!”

The latest statement came after Ramos criticized Mr. Duterte’s first 100 days in office as a “huge disappointment and letdown,” an assessment that contrasted starkly with popular opinion. Ramos had also described President Duterte’s anti-US statements as “discombobulating.”

Surprise

Ramos’ resignation also surprised other members of the Cabinet, among them presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza, a close associate of both leaders.

Dureza, who was in Davao City for the Halloween break, said he had yet to speak with either of the two men and declined to speculate how the resignation would affect efforts to cozy up to China.

“I have no idea. I only learned about it in the media. I was really surprised,” Dureza told the Inquirer. “They’re both my friends. I will have to talk to them first.”

But Ramos on Monday said he had done his job to “break the ice and to help restore the ties of goodwill and friendship” between China and the Philippines.

Mr. Duterte has so far also kept mum on Ramos, but has publicly acknowledged that it was the former president who convinced him to run for the presidency.

Despite his stinging rebuke, Malacañang said Ramos’ “presence” in the Duterte administration was “invaluable.”

“[Ramos] was appointed… as special envoy precisely because of his stature [and] credibility as our elderly statesman and his ability to break the ice with the Chinese government,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.

He credited Ramos for strengthening the diplomatic ties between Manila and Beijing which, he added, “led to the very successful” state visit of Mr. Duterte to China.

Mr. Duterte appointed Ramos as special envoy to China to help repair ties soured by an international arbitration case in a maritime territorial dispute which went in Manila’s favor in July, sparking outrage in Beijing.

Ramos’s decision to quit a job he had barely started was due to the progress made during Duterte’s visit, including what appears to be an end to China’s blockade of a disputed fishing zone, an aide said.

“He has done his job,” a Ramos aide told Reuters. “President Duterte has visited Beijing and our fishermen are back in the disputed Scarborough Shoal. He has accomplished his mission.”

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

'My expletive-laced tirades against the US is in defense of the country's dignity; my mentor [FVR] did not understand that'  posted November 03, 2016 at 12:01 am by F. Pearl A. Gajunera and John Paolo Bencito


President Rodrigo Duterte (right) and former President Fidel V. Ramos. File photo

DAVAO CITY—President Rodrigo Duterte described former President Fidel V. Ramos, the person who inspired him to seek the presidency, as an “American boy,” shortly after accepting his resignation as the country’s special envoy to China.

In an interview after paying respects to his parents at a cemetery here, Duterte said his mentor failed to understand that his expletive-laced tirades on the United States were in defense of the country’s dignity.

“For me, it is matter of honor. We didn’t understand each other about that,” Duterte said of Ramos.

“It is all right for America to criticize me on the extrajudicial killings but there are many policemen who are dying every day…. Everybody should realize that,” the President said.

Duterte said that while he understood why the “pro-Western” Ramos urged him not to veer away from America, but he said he would not change his already sour attitude towards the country’s long-term ally.

FVR PRODUCT OF WESTERN EDUCATION

“I know [FVR] is pro-American. He’s a product of western education—he’s graduate of West Point. Me? I am just a local boy,” Duterte said.

“He really didn’t want to fight. That’s Ramos. I’m different,” he added.

Duterte said America’s rude treatment of him was nothing to Ramos, but for he felt he was treated like a dog on a leash, being given food only if it follows orders.

“If they can swallow it, fine. The problem is, he’s not the President anymore. It’s me,” he said.

Despite their differences, Duterte said he was thankful for Ramos’ contributions to his administration, and he still saw him as a valued adviser.

WILL CONTINUE TO CONSULT WITH RAMOS

“I will still consult with [Ramos] in the future. Yes of course, if he cares to listen. It doesn’t mean that if he resigns as special envoy, I won’t be consulting him,” Duterte said.

On Monday, Ramos resigned as the country’s special envoy to China shortly after criticizing Duterte’s repeated tirades against the United States and an apparent tilt towards China.

The country’s oldest living ex-President said his job to break the ice and to help restore the ties of goodwill and friendship with China was done.

Ramos, whom Duterte credits for handing him the presidency, in a series of newspaper columns said that the government was “losing badly” by prioritizing the war on drugs at the expense of issues such as poverty, living costs, foreign investment and jobs—calling it a “huge disappointment and letdown.”

Sources had earlier told the Manila Standard that Duterte canceled Ramos’ China trip after he advised the incumbent President not to push through with the trip to China if they do not comply with certain conditions.

Instead of heeding Ramos’ advice, Duterte personally took control of talks with Chinese officials.

A week later, Ramos compared the Philippines under “skipper” Duterte to a leaky and slow-moving ship due to internal strife and disunity.

'REFRAIN FROM TRYING TO IMPRESS ME"

In a third piece, Ramos urged Duterte to refrain from trying to impress by saying too much.

His fourth and latest column called on the President to approve the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and said the President’s diatribes were like “shooting himself in the mouth.”

PLAYED PRODUCTIVE ROLE 'BREAKING THE ICE'

In his resignation, Ramos said he believed that he, as special envoy, played “a modest but productive role in the breaking of the ice” that led to Duterte’s successful state visit to China.

Despite the apparent rift, Duterte said that he would still heed Ramos’ advice but he maintained that he has his own way of assessing things.

The President thanked Ramos, 88, for his service to the country.

“I’d like to thank him for helping me and being of the service to the nation even at his age,” he added.


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