Duterte endorses Trump's re-election bid
President Rodrigo Duterte has urged Filipino-Americans in the United States to support the re-election bid of US President Donald Trump.
In a press conference on Monday night in Malacañang, Duterte acknowledged that he would be accused of interfering with the US affairs.
"To the Filipinos, if you perchance, you go out, vote for Trump. And they say that I am interfering, of course, I am interfering. Tell that to the Americans that Duterte is insisting in interfering," he said.
Trump is eyeing for a second term in the 2020 US presidential elections.
But despite the good relationship between Duterte and Trump, the Philippine president decided to terminate the 22-year old Visiting Forces Agreement between the two countries.
"Insofar as I am concerned, we are beginning to count the 180 days for them (US soldiers) to pack up and go. I am not reneging on the VFA and I am not going to America to discuss this with anybody, though I respect highly of Trump," Duterte said.
"And if that was a political move by the senators to win the Filipino votes there, I'm telling the Filipino now, you are getting the best deal with Trump," he added.
Duterte has ended the VFA with America after some US senators pushed for the passage of law, which includes a provision banning Filipino government officials allegedly responsible for human rights violations and continued detention of opposition Senator Leila de Lima from entering the US territory.
Some Filipino senators filed a petition before the Supreme Court to compel Duterte to seek the Senate's concurrence before terminating the VFA.
Duterte said he did not care even if he was accused of interfering with the US because it was Washington, under then President Barack Obama, who started meddling in the Philippine internal affairs.
He cited Obama's criticism on alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines due to the Duterte administration's war on drugs.
Duterte said because of his intensified campaign against illegal drugs, it is now safe for the people to walk in the streets.
Police have recorded that over 5,000 people have been killed in their anti-drug operations since July 2016, much lower than the figures being used by the Duterte administration's critics. Celerina Monte/DMS