Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Salvador Panelo said in a statement February 15 that President Rodrigo Duterte thinks if President Donald Trump were a Filipino and the Philippine President, given his character and principled stand on a matter of national interest, he would have done exactly the same thing he had done, and if he were the US President, he would have given the same reaction.
This is after Trump said that VFA termination was fine with him and it will save the US government a lot of money, adding that his view on the matter is different from others, apparently in reference to the statement of the US Secretary of National Defense who said that the abrogation of the VFA is a step in the wrong direction.
Panelo added that it was President Trump’s circumspect and judicious reaction to the termination of the VFA that made President Duterte gave the following remarks: “President Trump is a good President and he deserves to be re-elected.”
“PRRD welcomes President Trump’s remarks and he is glad that the American President understands and respects his decision to end the Visiting Forces Agreement. In ceasing the effectivity of the VFA, he points to the legislative and executive actions of the US government, which we have previously elaborated, as his raison d’être,” Panelo said.
“The Chief Executive deemed such actions to be not only an offensive and blatant disrespect to our judicial system but an outright assault to the country’s sovereignty. As a matter of principle and national pride, being the head of an aggrieved and insulted state, he had been compelled to take a bold, decisive and studied action,” he added.