MANILA, Philippines – The Palace respects former president Fidel V. Ramos’ opinion that the country was “losing badly” in the first 100 days of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
“Yes, we listen to him, we respect him but we’d also like to balance his perspective,” said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Monday, October 10.
The former president also said Duterte could have focused more on poverty alleviation and enhancement of national security instead of being “stuck in unending controversies about extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and in his ability at using cuss-words and insults instead of civilized language.”
Abella called Ramos a “senior statesman” who is “acting, in the sense, like a father” when he made those comments about Duterte. Duterte is known to admire Ramos, even mentioning the former president first in his inaugural speech last June 30.
Abella said Ramos’ comments are “worth looking into” but that other ex-government officials have a different take on Duterte and his performance.
The spokesman cited Ramos’ own national security adviser Jose Almonte who had given Duterte an “exceptional” rating for his performance in tackling poverty, corruption, and peace and order. However, Almonte had also said he hoped Duterte “would make his colorful statements colorless.”
“There are really mixed reactions. While there may be some concerns, we’d also like to in the end summarize the fact that the President is a man of action and really we need to appreciate that more,” said Abella.
He said Duterte has probably come across Ramos’ comments. Asked if Duterte is likely to listen to Ramos’ advice, Abella said, “The President is a wise man.” – Rappler.com