Panelo: Philippines won't toe U.S. line

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2016 09:27 PM

MANILA - Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo on Monday reiterated that while its treaties and agreements with the U.S. remain, the Philippines under the Duterte administration will uphold national interest and not merely toe the U.S. line. 

Panelo was reacting to statements made by top U.S State Department official Daniel Russel who is visiting the Philippines. 
 
On the president saying he was separating from the United States, Panelo said, "It simply means that our government is putting a closure to foreign policy adopted by previous administrations from servility to the U.S. government and the dominance by the U.S. over us."

"It also means that the enemies of the U.S. government are not necessarily our enemies. Our government policy is we will be friendly to all countries and our foreign policy will be based on our interest. International agreements would be honored until such time that the terms, of those treaties and agreements state otherwise. They can be negotiated and the terms beneficial and protective of the Philippine interests," he added.
 
Panelo reiterated Duterte's foreign policy.

"I think he has already clarified that earlier. I heard him on television that if the policy is consistent with the Constitution and our laws, then there's nothing to change and I agree with him except that from now on, it will be definitely not pursuing the line of the U.S. government insofar as following their interest is concerned. It will be always based on our interest and not theirs."
 
Asked whether the Duterte administration is seeking renegotiation of agreements with Washington, Panelo said "If there's any negotiation, it will be based on mutual and protective interests."

"Everything will be under review," he added.