MANILA - Former Senator and Ambassador Leticia Ramos-Shahani cautioned President Rodrigo Duterte against making a sudden shift in the Philippines’ foreign policy, saying he has to first determine if the Chinese are actually any better than the Americans.
Shahani said Duterte should not cut ties with the US and turn to China as an ally.
"He has to know China better. Are the Chinese any better?" said Shahani, who was a guest of Senator Risa Hontiveros as the latter pitched for the passage of the Mental Health Bill.
"In diplomacy, you have to wait. Your enemies won't reveal themselves," said Shahani.
Duterte told US President Barack Obama this week to "go to hell," the latest in a string of verbal attacks prompted by Washington's criticism of his bloody war on drugs.
He has also signaled an end to joint war games, casting doubts on the future of the two countries' military alliance.
The US is the Philippines' only treaty ally. The 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty binds the two countries to "defend themselves against external armed attack."
While criticizing the US, Duterte has signaled building ties with Washington's foes Beijing and Moscow. This despite the Philippines and China sparring over the resource-rich South China Sea.
Shahani, who hails from Pangasinan, however noted that Chinese coast guard personnel are still barring Filipino fishermen from entering the Scarborough Shoal.
Shahani also said the President should stop cursing in his public speeches.
"When you say ‘p***** i**, you are cursing motherhood, huwag naman ganun," said Shahani.