Palace officials were caught by surprise by the sudden resignation of Former President Fidel V. Ramos as the special ambassador to China and said that in the end it would still be President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision whether he would accept the resignation or not.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella confirmed that the resignation letter was submitted by Ramos to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
Among the people who had been surprised by this sudden decision by Ramos was Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, who is a friend of both Ramos and Duterte.
“I have no idea. I only learned about it in the media. I was really surprised,” Dureza, who was in Davao City during the holidays, said to Inquirer through a phone interview. He refused to comment when asked about any possible effects of Ramos’ resignation to the ongoing talks between China and Philippines.
Former President Ramos said in an interview that he believes he has already done his job to “break the ice” and restore the friendship between the two countries.
It was only on Tuesday night, November 1, when President Duterte confirmed Ramos’ resignation as the special ambassador to China.
“I received his (resignation) last night. I had a copy of his resignation,” Duterte said during his visit to his parents’ grave in Davao City.
He also took the opportunity to thank the former president for his service.
“First, I’d like to thank him for helping me and for being of service to the nation despite his age,” he said.
Aside from thanking him, he also said that he is taking Ramos’ advice but that he has his own way of assessing things.
Duterte had mentioned Ramos several times in his speeches, saying that the former president was the one who convinced him to seek the presidency. However, this friendship turned sour when Duterte also started having a rough relationship with United States and United Nations.
Ramos had criticized the President through his opinion columns in Manila Bulletin, with the most recent being about Duterte’s opposition to the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Duterte explained that despite his agreement to the comments of the former president, he cannot personally agree with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change because it seems unfair to developing countries like the Philippines. “He was correct, the only problem wala pa yung papel sakin,” Duterte said about the climate change pact. “I cannot approve or disapprove something that is not on my table. Of course I have my misgivings, but those were misgivings.”
“We are just trying, kakaumpisa pa lang natin, nagyaya ako ng maraming investor, tatayo ako ng industrial estates, there will be a lot of smoke there and pollution of course, titingnan ko lang na mayroon akong leeway, an elbow room to move because the treaty now that is being signed or passed around for signing is binding,” Duterte explained.
“I have to study the matter very carefully, maybe in the Senate, I was just giving my misgivings about, baka hanggang dito ka lang,” Duterte added, saying that the pact might be too limiting.
Ramos had several other opinions about the President’s actions ever since he took office but a Ramos aide said on Tuesday that the former president’s resignation has no connection to his opinion about Duterte’s performance.
Duterte also said that there was no tension between him and Ramos, adding that he would still consult with the former president in the future despite the latter’s resignation as special envoy.