Don’t judge Duterte over US must ‘pay’ remarks
MANILA, Philippines — Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday said the public should not judge President Rodrigo Duterte for saying the United States must pay to keep the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
“Huwag nating i-judge ang Pangulo (Let’s not judge the President) the way he says it. Actually, many presidents have said the same thing: that if you want to be in the Philippines, what’s in it for us? Kasi kailangan nating isipin ang Pilipino (Because we need to think about the Filipinos),” he told reporters in an interview in General Tinio, Nueva Ecija.
“Ang kaibahan kay President Duterte, pino-point out n’ya na umiinit po ang relationship o ang mga hindi pagkakasundo ng China at saka ng US,” he went on to say, adding that both the US and China are acting to protect their own interests.
(What’s different with President Duterte is that he’s pointing out that tension between China and the US was getting high.)
Duterte previously said that the US must “pay” if Washigton wants to continue its VFA agreement with the Philippines in a speech at the inspection of newly delivered air assets at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga.
“I would like to put on notice if there’s an American agent here that from now on, you want the Visiting Forces Agreement done? Well, you have to pay,” he said.
“It’s a shared responsibility but your share of responsibility does not come free because after all, when the war breaks out, we all pay,” he added.
“Ayaw niyang maipit ang Pilipino sa ilalim,” Cayetano later added about Duterte’s remarks.
(He does not want to pin the Filipinos down to the bottom.)
The lawmaker, who served as foreign affairs secretary from 2017 to 2018, later added that it’s best to leave the negotiations to the diplomats.
“But now that everything has been said and done, leave the diplomats to do the negotiation,” he said. “Nasabi na eh, nasabi na ng Amerika ang side nila, nasabi na ng China, nasabi na ng mga senador, nasabi na ng Presidente,” he said.
(It’s already been said, America said its side, China said its side, senators have aired their side, the President has said his.)
“Yung diplomats, may marching order na ‘yan, and I’m sure we can get the best deal for the Filipino people basta’t bigyan ng full support ang mga diplomats natin na gawin ‘yung trabaho nila,” he added.
(The diplomats have their marching order, and I am sure we can get the best deal for the Filipino as long as we give our full support to our diplomats.)
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