Will Senate go with Duterte on PH split from US?
President Duterte went on a four-day state visit to the People’s Republic of China to make good his previous pronouncements that he is distancing from a traditional ally and friend of the Philippines, the United States of America. The President accuses the America of using the Philippines to advance the United States’ own good.
America has been critical of the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug “personalities” in Mr. Duterte’s so-called “war on drugs.” Many believe that these killings have Mr. Duterte’s blessings, condonation or consent.
After the spate of invectives he hurled at the United States and its president, Barack Obama, Mr. Duterte announced before the highest officials of China, in that country’s Hall of the People, his decision to sever military and economic ties the Philippines has with the United States and offered China his friendship. He later said that diplomatic ties with America will remain intact.
By going to China and offering that country his friendship he has effectively lost his bargaining power with that giant country.
He “entered the dragon’s lair,” so to speak, kowtowed before the high and mighty of that land, and offered himself to be devoured without a fight—a willing victim—an offer the hungry giant did not reject.
Mr. Duterte, a lawyer, must have known that whatever treaty or agreement he makes with any foreign nation or its leader is not valid without the consent of the Senate—which means, a two-thirds vote.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told the Senate during his confirmation hearing that the Cabinet was not consulted by the President when the latter announced an end to joint military exercises with the United States.
Indeed, it is highly possible that Mr. Duterte made the move without telling anybody in his official family of his plan to cut ties with the United States before announcing his intention to the whole world.
Is this an indication of an impending one-man rule?
We believe that the members of his administration and his allies are having a hard time arguing for their master’s public statements. We also believe that within the military there is unease on how to go about their commander in chief’s orders.
We have just suffered the first 100 days of the Duterte administration which has earned both condemnations and commendations.
We just have to wait to see what will happen in the ensuing days, weeks and months: Will his administration survive the remaining years of his rule?
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