PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night indicated that he might stop quarreling with the United States now that Donald Trump has been elected president.
The two might even become chums, as they share a proclivity for coarse language.
“Ayaw ko nga, sabi ko, makipag away kasi and’yan na si Trump [I said, I don’t want to quarrel now that Trump is there]. But I would like to congratulate President Trump. Mabuhay ka [Long live]!” the President said in remarks before members of the Filipino community in Kuala Lumpur where he was on an official visit.
“Pareho tayo magmumura. Konting rason lang, mura kaagad, pare-pareho kami [We both curse. Even on trivial matters, we curse. We are alike],” he added.
Duterte’s friendly attitude toward the Republican president-elect contrasted with his combative stance toward outgoing US President Barack Obama, who had been critical of the Philippines’ anti-drug war.
Obama canceled a bilateral meeting with Duterte at the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Laos in September, following the latter’s expletive-laden rants.
Duterte later ordered a stop to joint exercises and naval patrols between the Philippine and US militaries, as well as the cancellation of a deal for 26,000 rifles for the Philippine National Police.
Duterte on Wednesday admitted being advised to tone down his anti-US rhetoric following the election victory of Trump, whose pledge to curb immigration and outsourcing could affect the Philippines.
“I don’t want an enemy, but I cannot also –, because, they said, the election is over and Trump has won, why don’t we just shut up?” he said in Filipino.
Duterte had refused to weigh in on the US elections but said in a recent television interview that the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would make a good president, and Trump was a “good candidate.”
In October, Trump used Duterte’s decision to restrict joint military exercises against Obama, claiming it was evidence of the US’ diminished stature overseas brought about by weak foreign policy under Obama and Clinton who had served as secretary of State.
Trump noted that the Philippines and the US shared a long history and that the Philippines is an “important” and “strategic” location.