MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday took another swipe at the United States, saying its ambassadors are skilled at undermining governments which do not toe Washington’s line.
“Most of the ambassadors of the United States, but not all, are not really professional ambassadors,” Duterte told CNN Philippines in an exclusive interview in Malacañang.
“Iyong mga career [diplomats] at the same time, they do spying. They are really connected with the CIA. Ganon ‘yan eh. The ambassador of a country is the number one spy, but there are ambassadors of the United States, ‘yung forte nila is really to undermine government.”
Duterte gave this comment following rumors that former US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg worked on ousting the popular Filipino leader.
The tough-talking Filipino leader said he does not fear losing the presidency, but he said he will give anyone who will seek to unseat him a “bloody nose” because he has to fulfill his mandate.
“Ako naman, this is my message to the United States and to everybody, to those out there on the streets, and for those who are demanding my resignation: you know, I feel that I have to honor the contract with the people,” he said.
“Pero kung sabihin mo na tatakutin mo ako, or that you’d be happy to see me out, I view life as a matter of destiny all of what happens here in this universe.”
Citing a source, a Manila Times article alleged that Goldberg had left behind a "blueprint to undermine Duterte" that is meant to eventually help remove him from office.
The US Embassy in Manila, however, categorically denied the allegations and the existence of a 'blueprint'."
"As Secretary (John) Kerry said in his meeting with President Duterte in July, the United States respects the sovereignty of the Philippines and the democratic choices made by the Philippine people in selecting their leaders," U.S. Embassy Press Attaché Molly Koscina told ABS-CBN News in a statement.
Koscina also said that the relationship between the two countries is "broad" and its alliance is one of their "most enduring and important relationships in the Asia Pacific region."
The tiff between Duterte and Goldberg can be traced to the 2016 election campaign, when the then-US envoy to the Philippines castigated the long-time Davao City mayor for his rape joke about an Australian woman.