Duterte says China's Xi vowed to protect him from ouster

MANILA, Philippines – Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to protect President Rodrigo Duterte from any plan to remove him from office, the Philippine leader said on Tuesday, May 15. 

"The assurances of Xi Jinping were very encouraging. 'We will not – ,' eh nandiyan naman sila (anyway they're there). 'We will not allow you to be taken out from your office, and we will not allow the Philippines to go to the dogs," Duterte said.

"Siguro kasi freely elected leader naman ako (Probably because I'm a freely elected leader anyway), it could be a very justified statement," said Duterte.

The Philippine leader earlier claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States was plotting to oust him – an accusation denied by the US.

Duterte made his recent statement aboard BRP Davao del Sur, which was docked in Casiguran, Aurora, for an event to commemorate the renaming of Benham Rise as Philippine Rise. (READ: Duterte scraps jet ski ride in Philippine Rise

Duterte spoke in the context of "playing geopolitics with everybody," as he said the US "cannot stand hardship" and is "deterioriating."

"I'm sad to say pero ang Amerika (but America) cannot stand hardship," Duterte said. 

Comparing Filipino, American soldiers

The Philippine leader said Americans would, for example, fight in wars such as in Afghanistan, then after the fighting, go home to the "green zone" to look for an air-conditioned room with a comfortable bed.

"Kumpara sa sundalo ng Pilipino? Magtapon ka ng Marine diyan sa dagat, itapon mo, 3 days, magsurvive 'yan. Amerikano itapon mo, one hour after, lulutang na 'yan," Duterte said.

(Compared to Filipino soldiers? Throw a Marine into the sea, and after 3 days he will survive. Throw an American, and one hour after, he will be floating already.)

"Ang Amerika, takot pumatay, takot mamatay. 'Yan talaga ang totoo sa Amerika (America is afraid of killing, afraid of dying. That's the truth about America)," Duterte said.

"Ang nalaman lang ng mga buang na ito is human rights. Kaya they are deteriorating (All these crazy people know is human rights. That's why they are deteriorating)," he added. 

Duterte revealed Xi's "very encouraging remarks" even as he detests Western countries for allegedly meddling in Philippine affairs.

Duterte, in fact, vowed to move away from Washington, and closer to Beijing, as he rejects America's supposed meddling in his anti-drug campaign. 

The Philippine Constitution itself states: "The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states, the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination."

Critics have said, however, that Duterte's "independent foreign policy" has made the Philippines subservient to China, as Duterte downplays a 2016 Hague ruling that asserted the Philippines' rights over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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