Duterte to Robredo: Extortion? Study more; you’re not fit to be president | Inquirer News

Duterte to Robredo: Extortion? Study more; you’re not fit to be president

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 07:51 AM February 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte fumed at Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday for likening to “extortion” his demand that the United States pay the Philippines to keep the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

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“This Robredo is a lawyer. I can forgive [Sen. Panfilo] Lacson [for his remarks on the VFA] because he’s not. They should look at the Constitution. The foreign policy is vested in the president alone,” Duterte said in a pre-recorded speech that aired late on Monday.

“Every time she opens her mouth, she forgets that she is a lawyer. Being a lawyer, she should know that the Constitution says that that is my function. It is not their function. Whatever I want to say for the sake of the country, there’s a purpose for it,” he added, speaking partly in Filipino.

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Duterte said that he was not asking for money, but for arms should the Philippines need to go to war over its dispute over the South China Sea.

“The theater of war, if it should ever start, will be at the China Sea. Now we are insisting on Americans that we should be provided with arms and armaments that would place us on equal footing with other countries at war with us,” the President said.

“That’s what Robredo doesn’t know… You, ma’am, I’m sorry to say, you are not really qualified to run for president. You do not know your role.”

“If by an unfortunate chance you become the President, please study more. I think that you need a refresher course in law,” he went on.

Instead of “extorting,” Robredo earlier suggested that the disadvantages of the VFA be laid out to explain why the Philippines wanted to abrogate the agreement.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, sought more “diplomatic and statesmanlike” talks in dealing with the US over the VFA.

Malacañang earlier denied that demanding the US to pay to keep the VFA was a form of extortion as funds could be used for the country’s Covid-19 response and other programs.

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Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Philippines and the US would meet to iron out their differences over the VFA this month.

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TAGS: Leni Robredo, PH-US relations, Rodrigo Duterte, VFA, Visiting Forces Agreement
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