Ramos to Duterte: Stop saying you'll die soon
MANILA, Philippines – Former President Fidel V. Ramos urged President Rodrigo Duterte to stop saying he is "dying" soon, saying he still has a lot of things to fulfill as part of his 6-year mandate as the country's chief executive.
"Pardon me for saying this Mr. President Duterte, but you must be at peace with yourself and do not talk about dying soon or being killed or not caring about your life. No. You must preserve your life," Ramos said on Rappler Talk.
"You have a lot of things to do. And people will support you. We don't want the President to be disposed of just like that. You were elected for 6 years. And you fulfill it. Now, I'm just saying these things in an 'unsolicited advice' way," the former president, the Philippines' commander-in-chief from 1992 to 1998, said.
Ramos said Duterte's fears are borne out of his insecurity. "This is the kind of environment which he grew up. But a lot of these fears being generated by him is because he is afraid of fear, or he is not secure. He's insecure," said Ramos.
Since his election in May 2016, Duterte has repeatedly spoken about supposed plots to kill or to oust him.
He has pointed fingers at the US, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency, which in turn has denied such allegations repeatedly. He has also previously tagged the "yellows," alluding to the Liberal Party, as planning his ouster.
PH must have envoy to US
Meanwhile, Ramos also said Duterte "will have to" appoint an ambassador to the United States, a long-time treaty ally of the country, despite his earlier pronouncements that he wouldn't.
"We must protect our interests through the ambassadors, through the embassy there in the US. We have all kinds of dual citizens out there. We have all kinds of Filipinos out there who did not become American citizens or who are there for a while temporarily," Ramos said.
"Let's work with the world. Because no island is independent as of now. Everybody is interdependent," he added.
In the Rappler Talk interview, Ramos also urged Duterte to hold consultations before he makes decisions on key policy and security issues. He said Duterte should make good use of mechanisms like the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) and the National Peace and Order Council (NPOC).
He is also concerned that there is an emerging culture of impunity in the Philippines and supported calls for internal cleansing in the Philippine National Police. (READ: Impunity in PH? Ramos says 'it's starting to be like that')
"With all due respect to those concerned, it's not Facebook stuff. It's the real McCoy because I've been through it and I've done it. And I want to put it on record as being what worked for us," said Ramos. – Rappler.com