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Duterte plans state visit to Vatican, Asean states

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 05:13 PM May 10, 2016
Rodrigo Digong Duterte elections 2016 results presidential candidate

Front-running presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte smiles during a news conference shortly after voting in a polling precinct at Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School, Matina, Davao City, on May 9. AP

DAVAO CITY—Leading presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is planning a state visit to the Vatican after he is proclaimed President of the Philippines.

Duterte became controversial in November 2015 when he took a swipe at the Roman Catholic Church and cursed Pope Francis for causing inconvenience during his visit early last year.

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Spokesperson Peter Laviña said Duterte would visit the Vatican as well as other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member states.

“So definitely, if the mayor so decides to make his first official state visit it would be within the Asean,” Laviña said.

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He also said a state visit to the United States, China and Japan would be “seriously considered” to strengthen ties with the country’s trading and economic partners.

During Duterte’s campaign, which has been replete with controversy, he slammed the United States and Australian embassies for supposedly interfering in the Philippine elections. This came after the ambassadors of the two nations hit him for his offensive remarks about a rape victim.

Duterte had chastised US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg for criticizing him for a joke he made on the rape of an Australian missionary in Davao in 1989, threatening to cut diplomatic ties./rga

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TAGS: Elections 2016, Pope Francis, Rodrigo Duterte, Vatican
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