No change of mind by Duterte on VFA; termination process only suspended - Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte has not changed his mind about terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, his spokesman said on Thursday.
In a virtual press briefing in Davao City, Secretary Harry Roque said Duterte merely ordered the suspension of the termination of the treaty with Washington.
"I don't know if he (Duterte) changed his mind because what happened was the termination was just suspended. He did not say that the termination would no longer push through. So, there's no change on the President's mind," he said.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier disclosed that Duterte instructed him to inform via diplomatic note the US Embassy in Manila that the Philippines has decided to suspend the pending termination of the over two-decade old treaty.
In the note to the US Embassy, the DFA cited the "political and other developments in the region" for coming out with such decision.
The Philippines sent last February a notice to the US terminating the VFA. Under the treaty, the termination will be effective 180 days after the notice is served. Celerina Monte/DMS