Duterte admits acting ‘in bad faith’ for return of Balangiga Bells
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted acting “in bad faith” when he negotiated with the United States for the return of the Balangiga Bells to the Philippines in 2017.
During his final State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, Duterte recounted making a deal with the American soldiers that he would go to the US after their government returns the bells.
The historic bells of Balangiga were returned to the Philippines in December 2018, over a century after they were taken by American soldiers as war trophies in 1901 during the Philippine-American War.
Duterte never visited the US after that.
“The deal was, I would say I am in bad faith. Sigurado ‘yan, I will admit it but this is the real story,” he said.
Duterte recalled how he met with US soldiers in Camp Aguinaldo where they told him that then US President Donald Trump was inviting him to go to the US.
He said he initially refused to make the trip, reasoning that he did not like the way the US was “treating” the Philippines.
He said a certain Hogan, a CIA agent, then proposed a deal.
“Sabi niya, ‘isauli namin [ang bells], punta ka [sa America]’ because I said earlier in my presidency, I said there will never be a time that I will go to America,” Duterte said.
(He told me, ‘we’ll return the bells, you go to America’ because I said earlier in my presidency, I said there will never be a time that I will go to America.)
“Sabi ko, ‘Yes, I might consider going to America.’ Sabi ko,‘Work for it,’ and in just two months’ time, he told me that the ship carrying the Balangiga Bells are on their way,” he added.
(I said, ‘Yes, I might consider going to America.’ I said, ‘Work for it,’ and in just two months’ time, he told me that the ship carrying the Balangiga Bells are on their way.)
But after the bells were returned, Duterte said he can no longer go to the US due to lack of time.
“Pero talaga in my mind, the Americans might know it, there was never in my mind a trip to America,” he said.
“I have not been to America for almost 10 years? 22 years? I have not visited America and I have no intention of visiting it anymore,” Duterte added.
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