Report: Duterte among world leaders with a big stake in US election

AS the world will be closely watching the United States election, some countries will be watching more closely than others, according to the Associated Press.

“A number of world leaders have a personal stake in the outcome, with their fortunes depending heavily on the success — or failure — of President Donald Trump,” read an article by AP reporter Josef Federman released on Thursday, October 22.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was among the world leaders seen to benefit from a Trump victory.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte & US President Donald Trump

“Regarded by some as Asia’s Trump for his unorthodox political style and brash language, Duterte has nurtured friendly ties with the U.S. leader and even called on American Filipinos to vote for Trump,” Federman wrote.

“Trump, in contrast to Obama, has not publicly raised alarm over the Philippines’ deadly anti-drug crackdown. The tough-talking Duterte once said in a speech that Obama could ‘go to hell,’” the article added.

The AP also noted that a Joe Biden victory “could potentially bring a more adversarial relationship” between the Philippines and the U.S.

The Philippine government has reiterated several times that Duterte and Trump are “good friends.”

In April, Duterte received a phone call from Trump to discuss how the two countries could collaborate on efforts to contain COVID-19.

“Both leaders agreed to continue working together as long-time allies to defeat the pandemic, save lives, and restore global economic strength,” the U.S. Embassy in Manila said on April 21.

“The two leaders also discussed how the United States and the Philippines can continue building upon the string and enduring economic, cultural and security ties binding the two nations,” it added.

In February, Duterte said he believed that Trump “deserves to be re-elected” for understanding and respecting the Philippines’ decision to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

“It is President Trump’s circumspect and judicious reaction to the termination of the VFA that made PRRD give the following remarks: ‘President Trump is a good President and he deserves to be re-elected,” said then-presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Duterte ordered his government to send the U.S. a notice terminating the VFA on Feb. 7. The VFA, which came into force in 1999, covers the conduct of U.S. soldiers in the Philippines.

Among the provisions of the deal include lax visa and passport policies for U.S. troops, and the rights of the U.S. government to retain its jurisdiction over its military personnel when they commit crimes in the Philippines.

In June, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced that the Philippines has suspended the VFA termination “in light of political and other developments in the region.”

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