President Rodrigo Duterte will continue to consult former president Fidel Ramos even if he has resigned as the government’s special envoy to China.
Duterte on Tuesday night confirmed that Ramos has quit.
“I’d like to thank him for helping me and being of service to the nation even at his age,” the President said in a news briefing Tuesday night in Davao City.
“I take his advice. But you know I have my own way of assessing it,” the President said.
“I will still consult with [Ramos] in the future. Yes of course, if he cares to listen. Hindi naman siguro ibig sabihin na nag-resign na siya as a special envoy, hindi na ako makapag tanong sa kanya (He may have resigned that that doesn’t mean that I can no longer ask him some questions),” he added.
Duterte admitted that he and Ramos had differences of opinion especially over his government’s policies regarding the United States.
The President said he understood where Ramos was coming from when the former president criticized him on his foreign policy statements.
But he countered that his expletive laced-comments were in defense of his and the country’s dignity.
“Ang akin is matter of honor. ‘Di kami nagkaintindihan diyan… Maybe Ramos does not like it. Ibahin mo si Ramos. ibahin mo ako, hindi naman ako nag-aral kung saan-saan. Dito lang ako. Local boy lang ako. Hindi naman ako military. Ako, mayor lang, naging Presidente (For me it is a matter of honor. We disagreed on that. But Ramos is different, and I am different. I did not study abroad. I am a local boy. I do not come from the military. I am merely a mayor who became president),” Duterte said.
“Alam ko pro-Western si (Ramos). Doon nag-aral ‘yan eh. Ayaw niyang makipag-away (I know Ramos is pro-western, he studied there. He does not want to fight),” the president said.
In his resignation letter, Ramos affirmed his full support to the Philippines’ interests.
“This letter is my resignation as your special envoy to China. But more important, it is also an affirmation of my full support of the national interests of our Team Philippines of 100.5 million Filipinos that you now lead,” Ramos said in his letter which was read by Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.
“Given that your State Visit to the PROC [People’s Republic of China] was officially wide-ranging, which has resulted in renewed bilateral relations between our two countries, kindly allow me to step down as the special envoy of the President to the People’s Republic of China. We’d like to believe that the efforts of our team, of the special envoy, played a modest but productive role in the breaking of the ice that led to your successful visit,” Ramos said.
Abella said Ramos and Duterte “continue to have a solid and respectful relationship.”
CATHERINE S. VALENTE