President Duterte appeared to have softened his stance on the country’s longtime ally following Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States.
The 71-year-old President expressed hope that Trump will honor existing US-Philippines treaties.
Speaking before members of the Filipino community in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Wednesday, Duterte said he no longer wants to pick a fight with the US because Trump is already there.
“Ayaw ko makipag-away kasi nandiyan na si Trump,” said the President. His statement elicited applause from the audience. “I would like to congratulate Mr. Trump. Mabuhay ka,” he added.
It was the first time that Duterte publicly addressed America’s next president.
In his remarks, Duterte also likened his being foul mouthed with Trump, saying: “Pareho tayo nagmumura. Konting rason lang, mura kaagad, pare-pareho kami.”
In an ambush interview following his speech, Duterte reiterated his well wishes to Trump. “I would like to congratulate President Trump for his victory and I wish he will govern the way he promised the American people,” he told reporters.
“I never wanted any quarrel with anybody so I wish President Trump that he will honor our obligations and treaties with the US,” he continued. (Elena L. Aben)