SENATOR Antonio Trillanes was concerned President Duterte’s statement against US President Barack Obama would harm Philippines-US relations.
“President Duterte’s vulgar language directed against President Obama is wrong on so many levels and will definitely have detrimental effects on our diplomatic relationship and alliance with the US,” said Trillanes in a statement.
The senator added that Duterte’s statement was uncalled for and he fears that the country’s security would be weakened because of it.
“You don’t just slap the face of the most powerful country in the world and expect to get away with it,” he said.
But Senator Panfilo Lacson had a contrary view.
“I don’t see any drastic change in the long-standing friendly relations between the Philippines and the United States,” said Lacson.
He stressed that the country is one of the US’ strongest allies in the Asia-Pacific region, “and it will stay that way.”
“Presidents come after elections and go after their terms end, while alliances between countries remain strong, especially between the United States and the Philippines. I hope our president will soon realize that diplomacy is always part and parcel of a country’s foreign policy and being the country’s leader, he shapes that policy,” Lacson stressed.
The Obama-Duterte meet was called off after Duterte described Obama in vulgar terms.
Duterte, known for his colorful language exclaimed “son of a bitch” when he talked to reporters about Obama on Monday, a day ahead of their supposed meeting in Laos, where South Asian leaders have gathered for the annual summits.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin M. Drilon expressed regret on the cancelled meeting between Duterte and Obama.
“Talk about starting off on the wrong foot,” said Drilon.
The senator said that it would have been an opportunity for the two heads of state to get to know each other on a personal level.
“It is unfortunate that such meeting did not push through because of unnecessary rhetoric over human rights issues,” said Drilon in a statement.
However, the senator expressed optimism that the long-standing relationship between the two nations will endure and that both leaders will have other opportunities of meeting again under more comfortable and friendly circumstances.
“There is no doubt that the relations between the Philippines and the United States remain strong, and continue to be anchored on mutual respect and cooperation,” he added.