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Home Opinion Op-Ed Columns Is President Duterte flip-flopping on VFA?

Is President Duterte flip-flopping on VFA?


THERE has been a spate of inaccurate news, distorted if you will, being purveyed by CNN and other news media on the decision of President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte to put off to a later period the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) note verbale of June 1, 2020 sent to the US Embassy states in part:

“The suspension shall start on even date (June 1) and shall continue for six months, which period shall be extendible by the Philippines for another six months, after which the tolling of the period in Note Verbale No. 20-0463 dated 11 February 2020 shall resume.”

There are two phrases in the above paragraph that are quite ambiguous.


The first is “which period shall be extendible by the Philippines for another six months.” (Does this mean the extension will be automatic?)

The second is “after which the tolling of the period in Note Verbale No. 20-0463 dated 11 February 2020 shall resume.” (Does this mean the unexpired portion of the original termination period of March to August 2020 will resume from the time the first or second, if any, extended periods expire?)

The original termination period of the VFA was March to August this year. According to the second DFA note verbale dated June 1, Digong changed it to June to November this year with a possible extension of another six months which would be from December 2020 to May 2021.

The question is: does the wording of the above-cited paragraph in the DFA note verbale of June 1 truly reflect what Digong has in mind, or is it merely the product of the devious mind of Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Tweeterboy” Locsin Jr. who is a barefaced Amboy?”


Quite obviously, Locsin’s statement did not help the media reflect the actual situation on the matter when he said in announcing the decision:

“We look forward to continuing our strong military partnership with the United States, even as we continue to reach out to our regional allies in building a common defense towards enduring stability and peace and continuing economic progress and prosperity in our part of the world.”

To illustrate how the media has been deliberately (?) muddling the issue, below are excerpts from a CNN report by Brad Lendon datelined June 4, 2020 titled “Philippines says it won’t end US military access agreement amid South China Sea dispute”:

“The Philippines has reversed its decision to end an important military agreement with the United States as territorial tensions with China heat up in the South China Sea.

“President Rodrigo Duterte had decided to retain the Visiting Forces Agreement ‘in light of the political and other developments in the region,’ said Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. in a social media post Tuesday.”


I believe Locsin should issue a clarificatory statement to prevent further erroneous reporting by the media on the matter.

Better still, President Digong himself should issue his own statement on what he really wants. Already, many people are beginning to suspect that he is having a change of heart on his vow to get rid of foreign troops and military bases in the country. That would be most tragic!

As prominent columnist Rod Kapunan of the Manila Standard said in his article of June 13, 2020


“When the President took back his decision to withdraw from the VFA, it did not earn for him the respect of our neighbors. His flip-flopping was uncharacteristic of him, not seen even at the height of the opposition attacks against his administration for alleged human rights violation. This was not even seen during the Marcos administration after he sought to redefine our foreign policy by distancing ourselves from the US.

“For all President Duterte’s bravado in asserting an independent foreign policy, one could sense an inner insecurity that either he does not understand what an agreement is or what its implications are; whether from a legal standpoint, it is in accord with our constitution or politically, and can be equated to our current policy in pursuing our national interest. Even from that angle, one has to measure whether the agreement we entered into is working to our advantage.”

Mr. President, sir?

Locsin on PLDT roaming partnership with China, Vietnam

When a group of government officials led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana went to Pagasa (Thitu) Island to inaugurate a beaching ramp, they received “Welcome to Vietnam” and “Welcome to China” messages on their cellphones.

It turned out that PLDT Inc. has roaming partnerships with China and Vietnam.
As is his wont, Tweeterboy Locsin dived into the matter that does not concern his turf by tweeting:

“To PLDT. Just drop that roaming partnership s**t with China and Vietnam. You f*****s are making my work harder. I don’t give 2 s***s what your business plan is for that arrangement. Drop it before I visit you.”

My, my, what language. As usual, the fellow sounded like a foul-mouthed tough guy. PLDT’s Manuel V. Pangilinan and his boys and girls must be cowering in fear.

“You f*****s are making my work harder,” he said.

Huh?! How?!


From an internet friend:

A new priest at his first Mass was so nervous he could hardly speak. After Mass, he asked for help from the monsignor who replied: “When I am worried about getting nervous on the pulpit, I put a glass of vodka next to the water glass. If I start to get nervous, I take a sip.”

So, the next Sunday he took the monsignor’s advice. At the beginning of the sermon, he got nervous and took a drink. He then proceeded to talk up a storm. Upon returning to his
office after Mass, he found the following note on his door:

“Sip the vodka, don’t gulp.

Jesus was consecrated, not constipated.

Jacob wagered his donkey, he did not ‘best his ass.’

David slew Goliath, he did not ‘kick the crap’ out of him.

We do NOT refer to the cross as the the ‘Big T.’

The recommended grace before a meal is not “Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub, yay, God.’

And lastly, don’t EVER refer to Jesus and the 12 disciples as ‘JC and the boys.’”



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