Duterte: I trust Trump will be fair to immigrants

Pia Ranada
Duterte: I trust Trump will be fair to immigrants
But Duterte also says, 'I cannot talk for the illegals because whether President Trump or anybody else for that matter, an illegal is always an illegal'

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is optimistic that US President-elect Donald Trump will treat immigrants fairly.

“I trust in his judgment that he would be fair in the matter of the treatment of illegal immigrants,” said Duterte on Tuesday night, November 15, during a dinner he hosted for media within Malacañang Park grounds.

Still, Duterte said illegal immigrants are likely to face consequences under any administration.

“I cannot talk for the illegals because whether President Trump or anybody else for that matter, an illegal is always an illegal…So he is subject at any time to a deportation,” he said.

Trump ran on an anti-immigration campaign, once even tagging immigrants from the Philippines and other countries as “animals” because of their supposed propensity for carrying out acts of terror in foreign soil.

It seems he will live up to his promise of stricter immigration policies. Days after his victory, he said he would immediately deport 3 million immigrants with criminal records. (READ: For the undocumented Fil-Am: Living in fear)

Despite this, Duterte is hopeful that he’ll get along with the bombastic Trump, a leader he has been likened to.

“Oh I’m sure, wala man kaming away (we don’t have a fight). I can always be a friend to anybody, especially to a president, chief executive of another country,” he said.

He credited Trump for not picking a fight with him, unlike incumbent US President Barack Obama who expressed his concern about Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“Wala naman, ‘di naman ako sinasaway sa kampanya about the human rights (Nothing, he wasn’t chastising me in the campaign about human rights),” he said.

But more than that, Duterte said he wants to be “careful” with Trump because of the many Filipinos working in the US.

While he has not called Trump to congratulate him personally, Duterte said he sent a congratulatory letter as soon as he heard about the real estate mogul’s electoral victory. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.