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Don’t take Duterte’s words literally, Palace exec tells media

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 11:23 PM October 05, 2016
abella

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

USE your “creative imagination.”

This is what a Palace official had to say when asked to clarify President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent statement that he would eventually “break up with America.”

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Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella told reporters not to literally interpret the statements of the President.

“If we follow his style, let us not put a period at the end of his statements,” Abella said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

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Abella said the media should learn to “understand” Duterte instead of “taking him literally.”

In his speech before the Jewish community in Makati City on Tuesday night, Duterte said he would eventually cut ties with the country’s longtime ally – the United States.

Asked for clarification, Abella said the President’s statement was part of the government’s independent foreign policy and a “broadening of options” in terms of alliances with other countries.

He admitted that the Philippines “might” sever ties with the US in the future.

“Okay, siguro ang mahalaga diyan, is dapat intindihin natin ‘yung word na ‘cut ng ties.’ Sabi niya it’s a possibility that he could, that he might. Hindi ba ‘yun pagkakasabi kanina, ‘might,’ that he might, okay? So but let’s try to use our creative imagination, okay? Huwag tayo masyadong tayong literal,” he said.

The Palace official said the President’s pronouncements may only be considered as policy statement when followed by “an official action.”

“A number of his statements are not really—are basically expressions of frustration and a desire to express the independence of the Philippines. But at this stage, there are no official statements or moves regarding this matter,” he said.

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In the case of his statement of severing ties with the US, Abella said there were no “official moves” yet to sever ties with the superpower nation.

During his previous speeches, Duterte has often issued statements which he does not elaborate.

Ask for clarification on his pronouncements, the Palace and Duterte’s Cabinet secretaries would sometimes issue conflicting statements.

To address this concern, the Palace has released a memorandum on September 21, saying “official statements of the President on significant national and international issues” should only be issued by the presidential spokesperson.

In his absence, all statements on behalf of the President would be delivered only by Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

Despite the memorandum, Malacanang assured that Cabinet secretaries were still free to issue statements concerning their offices.

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TAGS: Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Ernesto Abella, Philippine News, Philippine-US relations, Rodrigo Duterte
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