MANILA - Several senators on Wednesday questioned the meaning behind President Rodrigo Duterte's statement saying China has assured him that he will not get ousted.
In a statement, Senator Panfilo Lacson stressed that no foreign country should determine the fate of the Philippines, its people and its leaders.
"If he really said that, and in the context that we are made to understand, all I can say is, God help the Philippines! We are a democratic and sovereign country. Nobody, not any foreign country but the Philippines and the Filipinos can determine and decide what is best for us," he said.
It was Chinese President Xi Jinping who gave Duterte assurances that he would not get ousted, the President said in a speech Tuesday.
"The assurances of [President] Xi Jinping were very encouraging… '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 quoted Xi.
In a statement, Senator Francis Pangilinan echoed Lacson's sentiment, saying Duterte should not lean on China for support, considering the West Philippine Sea dispute.
"Ang pahayag bang ito ang kapalit ng pananahimik ng administrasyon sa West Philippine Sea? Is this the reason why we are willing to enter into loans with China even if the interest rates are 4 to 5 times higher than that of Japan or South Korea?" he said.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Duterte's staunch critic, said he refuses to believe China made the statement as Asia's economic giant certainly knows it has no powers over changes of leadership in the Philippines.
"Duterte's statement betrays his paranoia about the state of affairs in his own country. No one is trying to kick him out; he is doing the destabilizing all by himself," he added.
Senator Vicente Sotto III, meanwhile, defended Duterte, saying the President "merely tells us that our President has formed a friendship with China's president."
"Hindi pakikialam 'yun," he stressed.