When asked about the apprehensions of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on the possibility of the United States ousting President Rodrigo Duterte, outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg had a one word answer—“absurd. “
“Absurd. The US is a great friend of the Philippines, it respects the democracy of the Philippines the process that has happened to elect the new President of the new administration, those are core beliefs of the United States,” he explained to some reporters at Villamor Airbase after the turnover to the Philippine Air Force of the C-130 plane on Monday.
“Any statement in any way that we are involved in such thing is not right,” he added.
During the weekend, Estrada expressed his apprehension that Duterte might also go through what he went through in his presidency after he opted to associate more with China than America.
The current Manila Mayor had been removed from his presidency in January 2001 after a mass street protest and an impeachment trial about corruption charges against him that was then halted.
Mayor Estrada believes that this event was orchestrated by the US government before, which explains his fears for President Duterte who might suffer the same fate. Duterte clarified that he wants to realign his foreign policies into one that is not dependent on the US right after announcing in a speech in Beijing that he wants to sever ties with the Western superpower.
US Ambassador Goldberg said that the US is seeking for the clarification of the President’s statements and that two officials had been sent to have a discussion concerning bilateral relations between PH and US.
“Some of the language we heard is inconsistent with that friendship, with that alliance. We want to see exactly what it means, in fact that’s why Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel and US Defense Assistance for Asian and Pacific Security Kerry Magsamen are here to seek that clarification, what does it mean,” Goldberg added.
Goldberg also added that there are certain bonds between the Philippines and the United States that are “unbreakable.”
“There are three and a half million Filipino-Americans; there are a couple of hundred thousand Americans who live in the Philippines. Our economic and commercial ties are extensive. The US is the largest foreign direct investor in the Philippines, the largest exporter from the Philippines is an American company, the largest private employer in the Philippines is an American company. Now they benefit from being in the Philippines and lovely workforce, and lovely people, serving those who work for them,” he said.
The Us Ambassador also had an answer to President Duterte’s previous statements about the killings of Moros in Mindanao during the 1900s by the US colony, saying that it should be left in the past.
“We are all aware of history. We are all aware of what happened 120 years ago and we’re now in 2016. We are dealing with issues like climate change, war against violent jihadism and issues that threaten all countries—we’re dealing with issues like maritime security and maritime awareness,” he said.
“We’re dealing on a much different basis that we did in the past and so would always say that we are gonna look towards the future and to the well-being of both our peoples,” Goldberg added.