SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV yesterday clarified that he did not dissuade US President Donald Trump from visiting the Philippines despite the controversies clouding the Duterte government.
“To be clear, I did not try to stop the state visit of President Trump since these things are carefully planned and cannot be stopped on the mere say so of a Philippine senator,” Trillanes said in a statement.
The senator, who is a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, stressed that he pushed the interests of the country.
“But let me emphasize that the interests of our country are not necessarily the same as the interests of Mr. Duterte,” said Trillanes.
The senator confirmed he had met with US officials, including Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, to talk about improving Philippine-US relations, and how to address issues on corruption and the human-rights situation in the country.
“Unlike the officials of the Duterte administration, I presented only factual information,” Trillanes added.
He further said: “As mentioned in the tweet of Sen. Rubio, we talked about enhancing RP-US relations, corruption and the human rights situation in the country.”
Senator Rubio is a known critic of Duterte’s war against illegal drugs.
“Besides, you cannot fool the US government; they know what’s happening in our country,” Trillanes’ statement said.
Prior to Trillanes’ confirmation of his US visit, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the senator was indeed in the US, and that he hoped Trillanes would not spread “biased” information about the Philippine government.
“We do hope the correct information is given and not biased information designed to adversely affect Philippine-US relations,” Abella said in a press briefing in Malacañang.
Trump is set to visit the Philippines to attend the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in November.