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Amid President Duterte’s bombastic comments against the United States, approximately 1,400 American troops are scheduled to arrive in the country next month to join their Filipino counterparts in another round of bilateral military drills.
PH-US armed forces will hold the annual Philippines Amphibious Landing Exercise from October 4 to 12 in multiple locations in Luzon and Palawan, the US Embassy said in a statement.
It will be the first large-scale joint military exercise between the two countries under the Duterte administration.
This comes amid the President’s repeated remarks critical of US policies.
Early this month, the 71-year-old maverick called for the pullout of American troops in Mindanao “to give space for peace talks between the government and Moro rebels.”
This was followed by another statement where Duterte said he does not want the Philippine Navy to engage in joint naval patrols with the US and other foreign nations in international seas to avoid getting involved in any hostile act.
Despite this, the tough-talking President said the Philippines needs the US presence in the West Philippine Sea, where the country has a maritime dispute with China.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has “some aces up its sleeve” amid the congressional probe on the alleged involvement of Sen. Leila M. de Lima to the narcotics activities inside the State penitentiary, a Palace official said.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, however, kept mum on whether the DoJ information included the alleged link of De Lima’s former boss, ex-President Aquino, on the corruption irregularities in the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
“I don’t really know what the plans of Congress is. Hindi ko rin alam kung ano ang plano ni DoJ Secretary Vit Aguirre but he did mention that he has some aces up his sleeve,” Andanar said over government radio when asked if higher government officials will be unmasked in the congressional hearing. (Elena L. Aben and Genalyn D. Kabiling)