MANILA, Philippines – After his unflattering comments about US Ambassador to the Phillippines Philip Goldberg sparked outrage and prompted a reaction from the US State Department, President Rodrigo Duterte insisted on the “strong alliance” between the US and the Philippines.
He also defended himself from critics, saying he was only telling the truth.
“There is only one source [of military equipment], two or one, United States with whom we have alliance militarily. Just let my comment about the ambassador be because it’s simply the truth,” he said on Wednesday, August 10, in a mix of Bisaya, English, and Filipino.
He again explained that his comment was prompted by his memory of Goldberg commenting on the controversial rape remark that got Duterte in trouble in the May 2016 elections. (READ: Duterte’s rape joke: Can diplomats comment on election-related issues?)
“At the time of elections, why make a statement when the elections is going on? It’s highly improbable, the ambassador from America. That’s our business, that was the campaign period. But I will reiterate our strong alliance with America,” he said.
Last August 5, Duterte called Goldberg an annoying “bakla” (homosexual) during a speech aired on national television.
“Nag-away kami ng ambassador niya, ‘yung ambassador, ‘yung bakla. Putang-ina buwisit ako diyan,” he had said.
(I had an argument with their ambassador, that homosexual. Son of a bitch, he really annoys me.)
More than a week ago, Duterte received US Secretary of State John Kerry and Goldberg himself.
Kerry had promised $32 million from the US government to help the Duterte administration beef up its law enforcement.
Despite the funds, Duterte never got over Goldberg’s comments during the presidential elections, insisting the envoy went out of line when he remarked on issues related to the country’s polls.
Days after Duterte’s “bakla” comment, the US State Department defended Goldberg, calling him one of their “most senior US diplomats.”
The US State Department also summoned a diplomat in charge of the Philippine embassy in Washington DC “to clarify those remarks.” – Rappler.com
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