PNoy twits Duterte over threat to cut US, Australia ties
BATANGAS - "Anong pakinabang natin dun?" This is how President Aquino reacted to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's threat to sever diplomatic ties with the United States and Australia after their ambassadors criticized his statement about the prison rape of a missionary.
In a press briefing, the President shook his head after being asked by a reporter on his response to Duterte's statement that the US and Australian ambassadors should "shut their mouths" about his rape remarks.
"Assuming na ganun na ganun ang sinabi niya, anong pakinabang natin dun?" he said.
"America is a very big trading partner, always in the top three. Australia has been helping us even in the peace process in Mindanao, and he comes from Mindanao. I'm sure he would want to have lasting peace in Mindanao," he added.
Aquino pointed out that the Australian government has been helping the Philippines through training for livelihood projects in Mindanao.
"Anong value? Kung walang value, bakit mo gagawin? At kung ang sagot sa dulo ay 'feel ko lang', baka dapat maintindihan ng taumbayan yun," he said.
He also said he is confident that the Filipino people could decide for themselves and ensure that their decision will be relevant on Election Day.
Duterte, 71, has come under fire for his comments on the rape of Australian missionary Jaqueline Hamill during a prison in 1989.
"They raped all of the women... there was this Australian lay minister... when they took them out... I saw her face and I thought, 'Son of a b***h. What a pity... they raped her, they all lined up," he told the crowd during a campaign rally.
"I was mad she was raped but she was so beautiful. I thought, the mayor should have been first."
WATCH: Duterte jokes about raped Australian woman
Duterte was at the time mayor of Davao, a major city in the southern Philippines where he is accused of running vigilante death squads that have allegedly killed more than 1,000 people.
Duterte has offered varying responses to the rape comments, with his media team releasing a statement in which he apologized. But on the campaign trail, he has repeatedly told reporters he would not apologize.
READ: Duterte apologizes for rape remark
Australian ambassador Amanda Gorely criticized his remarks saying in a statement on Twitter: "Rape and murder should never be joked about or trivialized. Violence against women and girls is unacceptable anytime, anywhere."
READ: Australian envoy boos Duterte's rape remark
US Ambassador Philip Goldberg later agreed with her, saying in a television interview that "statements by anyone, anywhere that either degrade women or trivialise issues so serious as rape or murder are not ones that we condone."
'REVIEW PH-US TIES'
Duterte, however, castigated the ambassadors.
"If I become president, go ahead and sever it (diplomatic ties)," Duterte said on the campaign trail on Wednesday night.
He added: "It would do well with the American ambassador and the Australian ambassador to shut their mouths."
Duterte spokesman Peter Laviña also said that if Duterte is elected president, he would seek a re-evaluation of the Philippines' relationship with the United States because "the treatment so far has not been good."
"I think we need to re-evaluate our relationship with the United States. It is one of our best allies, the closest allies, but the treatment so far has not been good," Laviña said in an interview on ANC.
He added: "Mayor Duterte has his own personal experience in Davao. We were able to capture a bomber, a suspect in the bombing in Davao, he was an American. He was spirited away by the US embassy. I think that's when the bad relations started." With Agence France Presse