‘More friends, the better:’ Bato wants Duterte to attend US-Asean summit
MANILA, Philippines — If it’s up to Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, President Rodrigo Duterte should attend the US-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit.
Dela Rosa made the remark on Friday—one day after Duterte threatened to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) if the United States would not “correct” its cancellation of Dela Rosa’s visa.
“Kung ako mismo tanungin n’yo, sabihan ko si Presidente na whether or not ibalik nila sa akin yung aking visa, puntahan mo yung Amerika kasi magandang senyales yun na na i-prove natin sa buong mundo na ang ating foreign policy is really independent,” Dela Rosa said.
(If you ask me, I will tell the President to go to the US—whether they rectify my visa or not—because it is a good sign so we can prove the world that our foreign policy is really independent.)
Dela Rosa said he intends to meet Duterte on Monday where he would extend his thanks to the president for “loving him.”
The senator said he would also urge the President to attend the summit.
“Sabay na din na, ‘Sir, baka puwedeng puntahan mo na ‘yong America para fair tayo sa lahat, at ang tingin talaga nila sa ating foreign policy ay neutral at independent,” Dela Rosa said.
(I would also tell him, ‘Sir, maybe you can go to the US so we would be fair to everyone and they would see our foreign policy as neutral and independent.)
“Para hindi naman masabi na iba ang ang foreign policy natin ay tilted lang towards China and Russia,” he added.
(So that it would not be like our foreign policy is tilted towards China and Russia.)
For Dela Rosa, the more friends, the better.
Malacañang has confirmed that Duterte already turned down U.S. President Donald Trump’s invitation to the summit.
“For many reasons which I’ve already stated earlier. And the other was the cancellation of Senator Bato’s visa. So that added to the other factors,” Panelo said when asked for Duterte’s reason for turning down Trump’s invitation.
Panelo earlier said Duterte was mindful of being denied entry to the US amid calls of senators there to release detained Senator Leila De Lima.
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