The United States government has commended the Philippines for the smooth conduct of the May 9 national and local elections which enjoyed historically high levels of participation.
US State Department Press Office Director Elizabeth Trudeau issued the commendation during a press briefing in Washington D.C. Tuesday (yesterday in Manila).
“We’re still awaiting the official results, but we look forward to congratulating and working with the winners on our active and close bilateral relationship,” said Trudeau.
When asked repeatedly by reporters whether the US government has any concerns about the unofficial winner of the just concluded presidential elections, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who they pointed out has somewhat of a “checkered past,” has a “pretty colorful offensive language,” and who has even “insulted” Pope Francis during one of his campaign sorties, the State Department official stressed that Washington “respects the choice” of the Filipino people.
“We gladly work with the leader they’ve selected,” Trudeau emphasized. “We look forward to congratulating, welcome, and working with him.”
With regards to Duterte’s earlier declaration that he wants to have a constructive relationship with China and even possibly a direct dialogue with the Chinese government in an effort to resolve the longstanding territorial dispute over the South China Sea between Manila and Beijing, Trudeau noted that the US government has “spoken about rhetoric around the world” but not specifically in this particular case.
“The United States has consistently expressed support for nations to exercise peaceful means to resolve territorial or maritime disputes without the use of force, intimidation, or coercion,” she said. “So we expect the official results from the Philippines to come out soon; we look forward to working with the people they elected.”
Earlier, the top US diplomat in Manila gave the Philippines a pat on the back for a successful and orderly conduct of the elections.
“I congratulate the Filipinos on their exercise of democracy,” US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg said in a statement posted in his official Twitter account. “It reminds the world that the Philippines is such an open and healthy democratic system.”