WHETHER or not former President Fidel V. Ramos is out as special envoy to China is all up to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that Ramos’ fate is in Duterte’s hands.
“According to FVR the letter (of resignation) has been submitted to the office of the Executive Secretary, but it will be up to PRRD, whether to accept it or not,” Abella said in a text message to Palace reporters yesterday.
Earlier, Ramos said he resigned from the post the moment Duterte’ returned home after his four-day state visit to China.
Ramos was not part of Duterte’s delegation to China.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar earlier said Ramos’ decision was a gesture of courtesy for Duterte, who visited Beijing for the first time as the head of state.
While Duterte repeatedly stressed in his speeches that Ramos was the one who urged him to run for president in the May 2016 elections, the former president, in his opinion column, suggested that Duterte should pursue an interdependent foreign policy instead of an independent foreign policy.
His latest piece was a warning to Duterte that if he continued to reject the Climate Change Agreement, it would be like “shooting himself in the mouth.”
Despite his criticisms, Ramos said that he should still be seen as an “older brother” in the Duterte administration.
Ramos helped improve relations between the Philippines and China amid maritime disputes, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar yesterday told Palace reporters.
Andanar said Ramos was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as special envoy to China because of his “stature, credibility as an elderly statesman, and his ability to break the ice with the Chinese government,” stressing the former president’s “invaluable presence”.
“PFVR was instrumental in the softening of ties between our government and the PROC (People’s Republic of China), which led to the very successful recent State Visit of PRRD (President Rodrigo R. Duterte) in Beijing,” Andanar said.
Andanar reacted to Ramos’ announcement that he had resigned as the country’s special envoy to China.
Ramos went to Hong Kong last August 12 to meet with Madam Fu Ying, chair of the foreign affairs committee of the National People’s Congress and a former ambassador to Manila, and Wu Shichun, president of China’s National Institute of South China Seas Studies.
A statement signed by the three said that they were able to discuss “in a friendly atmosphere” cooperation on fishing as well as fighting drugs, crime, and smuggling.