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Former President now Manila Mayor Joseph E. Estrada yesterday backed President Duterte’s “separation” from the United States, saying “it is high time that US government be stopped from its meddling with the country’s internal affairs.”
“Tama naman ginagawa ni Pangulong Duterte, bakit sila nakikiaalam?” Estrada said, referring to the US. “Di komo tinututulungan tayo ng US, papakialaman naman nila internal problems natin. We are a sovereign country. We have our own Constitution,” Estrada added.
Estrada is confident on the President’s move to realign the Philippines with China, because “they will not intervene in our issues, in our independence.”
But Estrada expressed concern that Duterte’s unpopular pronouncements might have severe consequences, such as his possible removal from office similar to what happened to him in 2001.
When he was President, Estrada recalled that the US government would always try to coax him into doing what they want, according to their self-interests.
He recounted that when he was waging war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2000, then US Defense Secretary William Cohen sent him a letter asking him to stop the military offensive. “Yung laban ko nu’n sa MILF, pinakialaman ako, pinatitigil ako,” Estrada narrated.
Estrada said he understands Duterte when he announced the country’s “separation” from the US. He stressed it was a difficult decision for the President, one that might expose him to political risks such as the US moving to oust him from office.
“Yun ang pangamba ko, sa ‘kin nga ginawa, e,” Estrada said, referring to his ouster in 2001 which he believed the US government had a hand in. (Betheena Kae Unite)