MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, March 19, for getting reelected to his 4th 6-year term, making him Russia's longest-serving leader since dictator Joseph Stalin.
"President Duterte extends the warmest congratulations of the Filipino people to President Vladimir Putin on his reelection," said Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
"As he resumes performance of his duties, President Duterte wishes President Putin more success in leading Russia to greater progress and in advancing the cause of peace and security in our region and in the larger international community," Cayetano added.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is set to become president for life, earlier congratulated Putin as well.
Duterte has vowed to move closer to China and Russia, and farther from the United States, as he blasts Washington's alleged interference in his bloody drug war.
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.