MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has congratulated Donald Trump for his victory in the US presidential election, and said he looks forward to improved US-Philippines relations under his administration.
"President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wishes to extend his warm congratulations to Mr Donald Trump on his recent electoral victory," Malacañang said in a statement sent to media on Wednesday, November 9.
At the time, the US vote count showed Trump leading with 276 electoral votes to Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton's 218 electoral votes, pointing to his win.
"President Duterte wishes President-elect Trump success in the next 4 years as Chief Executive and commander-in-chief of the US military and looks forward to working with the incoming administration for enhanced Philippines-US relations anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit, and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law," Malacañang added in its statement.
With a Trump victory, observers are interested to see how the 70-year-old billionaire and former reality television star will get along with the 71-year-old firebrand Duterte who has not kept secret his disdain for the US.
The Philippine President, himself elected 6 months ago, did not get along well with incumbent US President Barack Obama whom he had told to "go to hell" for "lecturing" him about the possible human rights violations in his anti-illegal drugs campaign.
He had also called out the US government for its "hypocrisy" in criticizing the spate of killings linked to his his war on drugs when it had committed human rights atrocities in Mindanao in its pacification campaign in the early 1900s, when the Philippines was a US colony.
Many have drawn parallels between Duterte and Trump, given their penchant for populist messaging, shocking remarks, and sexist behavior. (READ: Why Duterte is coy about choosing between Clinton and Trump)
At the time Trump gained the lead in the election, Duterte was in Thailand to continue his tour around Southeast Asian countries. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.