Duterte asks Cabinet to "boycott" travel to US
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday that he is barring his Cabinet officials from going to the United States.
In an interview in Quezon City, Duterte said no one will also represent him in the US-ASEAN Summit after he rejected the invitation of US President Donald Trump.
He said he would not attend the summit this March in Las Vegas as part of his "strategic, geopolitical considerations.”
"I will not allow any Cabinet member to go there at this time. No Cabinet member should be allowed to go the United States...it's like a boycott," he added.
Duterte expressed dissatisfaction over the US decision to bar entry of Filipino government officials who were allegedly involved in the human rights violations in the Philippines, including the continued detention of opposition Senator Leila de Lima.
Duterte even ordered the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement with America after the latter canceled the US visa of former Philippine National Police chief and now Senator Ronald dela Rosa.
"I am terminating (the VFA). I was not joking the day I said it was the day I decided it will be terminated," he said.
Duterte said his decision was not because of whim.
"They said it is subject to my whim. Caprice. It started when they mentioned the US resolution in the US Senate. They were trying to figure out who will be the persons who will be banned from entering. Since that time, my mind was already moving. I'm like that. I won't wait," he said.
"At that time I decided if they do this I do it not only for Dela Rosa but for every Filipino, especially for those in government who would go there (in the US)," Duterte said. Celerina Monte/DMS