Angry Duterte threatens to end Edca
President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday threatened to stop the implementation of the Philippines-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) and said he would soon announce a new policy in connection with the country’s ties with the United States.
In a speech in Bacolod City where he attended the 37th Maskara Festival, the President slammed the US in response to its reprimands over his deadly war on drugs.
“If you Americans are angry with me, then I am also angry with you,” said Mr. Duterte, whose campaign against illegal drugs has resulted in over 3,000 dead, many of them apparent summary executions.
Mr. Duterte announced his administration was reviewing the Edca. He noted that while it was an official document, it was just an executive agreement since it was not signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III.
The Edca, which was signed in 2014 but was not implemented until the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality in January, was signed only by former Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and a US aide, he said.
“Better think twice now because I would be asking you to leave the Philippines altogether,” the President said to the US government. That is, if the US would be “unable to produce the signature bearing the permit to conduct war games.”
Talk with Medvedev
Mr. Duterte made the statement as he reiterated he would strengthen the country’s ties with China and Russia. He disclosed that he had talked with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev when he was in Laos for the Asean summit last month.
Mr. Duterte said the US was not helping the Philippines in its war on drugs. The government, he said, did not have money for it as it was working with a national budget prepared by the Aquino administration that did not prioritize the drug problem.
Americans in Mindanao
He said he was considering telling the Americans in Mindanao to pack their bags so he could negotiate with a group of Muslim scholars, who he said refused to negotiate with him due to the US presence in the South.
He said these scholars had told him they would talk to him but would not negotiate peace “as long as the Americans are in Mindanao.”
“This prompted me to say there may be a time I may ask the US to leave Mindanao to be able to connect to them [scholars] and talk, and maybe they will decide to negotiate,” he said.
“I’m just being your president,” he added, reminding the public that he had earlier said he would “open another front in our foreign policy” due to the humiliation the US was giving him.
The President said he met with Medvedev and he told the Russian leader about the way the US was humiliating him and the latter told him he would help him.
He said that China, on the other hand, told him to go with Beijing because the US would not be able to give the Philippines assistance.
In response to the insults he was getting from the US, President Duterte said: “Tomorrow I will be friends with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and (Chinese President) Xi Jinping.”
Criticized by many
President Duterte has been criticized by the US as well as the United Nations and international human rights organizations for disregarding due process in his war against drugs.
Over 3,000 people have been killed since he assumed the presidency on June 30.
Hundreds of thousands have reportedly “surrendered” and are packed in jails because they feared being shot by police.
Duterte last week triggered a fresh round of global condemnation when he threatened to kill up to 3 million Filipinos and compared himself to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.