PHILIPPINE-U.S. bilateral relations will not see any major changes regardless of who wins the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Malacañang said on Wednesday, November 4.
“You see the (U.S.) State Department ensures continuity as far as U.S. foreign policy is concerned. So we don’t expect any major changes in bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United States,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told CNN Philippines’ The Source.
He acknowledged the friendship between President Rodrigo Duterte and U.S. President Donald Trump, but expressed confidence that Duterte can foster friendly relations with Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
“Of course, there is an issue of personal relations but I think given time the President can establish equally warm personal relations with whoever wins this election even [if] it’s not President Trump,” Roque said.
“And even if there is a new President, I am not saying that there will be, but in case there is a new President in the United States in the person of Senator Biden, I am confident that the President can also develop a close personal friendship with Mr. Biden. May the best man win as of now,” he added.
The U.S. Embassy in Manila likewise maintained that the relationship between the Philippines and the U.S. will remain strong no matter the outcome of the election.
“The U.S. relationship is very very old, it’s very very strong, there have been Republicans and Democratic presidents of the U.S. and different administrations of the Philippines — one constant has been the relationship between our peoples,” Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law said at the sidelines of the 2020 US Presidential Election Watch Party hosted by the embassy.
“The relationship between our countries is always very strong and (I’m) certain it will continue,” he added.
A political analyst, on the other hand, said Biden winning the U.S. election could prompt “challenging times” for the Duterte administration.
“If you would look at details of the core platform of Biden, there might be challenging times for the president,” Prof. Dindo Manhit of think tank Stratbase ADR Institute told “The Chiefs” on One News.
“They’re proud of their belief that they need to go back to the core of the Democratic Party which is how they can lead in the world,” he added.
According to Manhit, part of Biden’s proposed foreign policy would be the reinvigoration of democracy around the world, which could meet resistance in the Philippines.
He added that a Biden administration could be “more aggressive” in addressing the Philippines’ human rights situation.
Biden could also address the maritime territorial dispute between Beijing and Manila in the West Philippine Sea by bringing more countries to ensure a “rule-based security environment not only in the Philippines but in the region as well.”
“Biden, being a former vice president of Barack Obama, would have learned their lessons [on] trying to give some space to China to become good global citizens. But what we have seen especially after the 2016 arbitral award is they cannot be good citizens and they will use their aggressive stance,” Manhit said.