ASKED who between Trump and Clinton he liked better, President Rodrigo Duterte evaded the question by stating unabashedly that Russian President Vladimir Putin is his “favorite hero.”
In his press conference in Davao City after his arrival from China late Friday evening, the President was asked who between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton he would get along better with as the next US president.
“I would like to answer your question candidly, honestly and truthfully, problem is ... I am a president of a country and we have this splendid relationship with America and the fact that there are already millions of Filipinos in your country, I can’t gamble an answer because either way, they might create hostility here and antagonism here,” the President said.
“So, I’m better off in saying that my favorite hero is Putin,” he said.
Duterte, however, had earlier expressed preference for Clinton as the next US president.
The President had sought stronger ties with Russia and China as he announced the “separation” of the country’s foreign policy from the United States.
Duterte later explained just before midnight Friday that he did not mean a “severance” or cutting off of ties, but only a recasting of foreign policy toward a more independent, less America-centric mode.
The President’s talk of aligning with China and Russia caused confusion and anxiety among diplomatic circles.
He said Russia had come out with a statement saying it was prepared to extend assistance to the Philippines.
“So, if I would like an atomic bomb, they could just give it to us and bring it here,” he said.
Asked to react to observations comparing his brash, off-the-cuff remarks with that of Trump, Duterte said the former was just airing “valid issues.”
“Trump is airing something that should also be a concern, one is terrorism. Everybody should be worried about terrorism,” he said.
“Terrorism is there and frankly speaking, I’d like to be honest with you, America somehow, not all, somehow proved to be the reason for the terrorism there right now,” the President added.