MANILA - A Cabinet official on Monday said Malacanang has yet to receive former President Fidel V. Ramos' resignation as the Philippines' special envoy to China.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar was asked to comment on reports that Ramos has resigned because the official track with Beijing over the South China Sea dispute and other bilateral issues are already in place following President Duterte's state visit to China.
The state visit restored the normal ties between China and the Philippines, which were downgraded following a clash in Scarborough Shoal or Panatag Shoal in 2012.
Andanar also said Ramos' "expertise and stature" is needed "now more than ever" to ensure that President Rodrigo Duterte's accomplishments during his recent trip to China will push through.
"Moreover, it is not true that the former president can no longer have any role in our engagement with China. His stature and expertise are needed now, more than ever, to follow up and bike on what President Duterte accomplished during his recent visit to China," Andanar said in a text message.
Ramos has recently criticized some of Duterte's policy pronouncements.
In his Manila Bulletin column published last Saturday, for instance, Ramos cited Duterte's stand not to honor the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which seeks to lower climate-warming emissions.
The Philippines' elder statesman, who was instrumental in pushing Duterte to run for president, earlier lamented that the Philippines lost badly during the first 100 days of the administration.
Ramos criticized Duterte for being too focused on his war on drugs, neglecting other social ills such as poverty.
He also observed that cops were not following the basic rule of shooting to disable crime suspects, but were instead shooting to kill even if their (cops') lives were not in danger.
The former military and defense chief also called out Duterte on his anti-US foreign policy, including Duterte's stand to end joint military exercises with its treaty ally.
Ramos also decried Duterte's insults against outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, a former foreign minister of South Korea who helped Filipino veterans of the Korean war.
Ramos was named special envoy to China in July, days after the Philippines won an international arbitral ruling against China's maritime clains over the South China Sea.
Ramos then accepted the offer and traveled to Hong Kong to meet some officials and old friends in the Chinese government.