'Democracy has prevailed': Palace congratulates incoming US President Biden

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2021 02:01 PM

US President-elect Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff stand in front of the Washington Monument ahead of Biden's remarks in Washington, US Jan. 19, 2021. Tom Brenner, Reuters

MANILA — Malacañang on Wednesday congratulated American leader Joe Biden, ahead of his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States, the Philippines' longtime ally. 

Democrat Biden is an ally of former US President Barack Obama who President Rodrigo Duterte once cursed at for raising concern on his anti-narcotics drive. The President-elect is replacing Republican Donald Trump, who earlier said he has a "very good relationship" with Duterte. 

“It’s always good news that democracy has prevailed, and we congratulate again the incoming president. We look forward to having close and friendly relations with the Biden administration,” the Duterte spokesman said in a television interview. 

Roque previously said there was no basis for assuming that Biden would be tough on killings in Duterte's drug war. 

"Ang meron po tayo ay mainit at malapit na relasyon sa bansang Estado Unidos," he told reporters in an online briefing.

(What we have is a warm and close relationship with the United States.) 

Trump had earlier praised Duterte for doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem." 

Duterte, for his part, regards Trump as "a good president" who "deserves to be re-elected", according his former spokesman, Salvador Panelo, in February last year.

Duterte continued though to hurl anti-US remarks and had adopted such policy as abrogating the two countries' Visiting Forces Agreement.

In October 2016, while in China, Duterte announced his "separation" from the United States, the only treaty ally of the Philippines.

"I've realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world - China, Philippines and Russia. It's the only way," he said then.

That year, Obama urged Duterte's government to go after drug rings "the right way" because otherwise, "innocent people get hurt and you have a whole bunch of unintended consequences that don't solve the problem."

His supposed meeting with Duterte that year was cancelled after the Philippine leader called him a "son of a w****" and told him not to question him about extrajudicial killings.
 
Last November, Roque said that Duterte "is keeping an open mind, as he should" on Biden.

"It will be a new start, but we have no prejudgements as far as President-elect Biden is concerned other than the position that we're able and willing to work with all leaders of the world," Roque said. 

Duterte has not made a phone call to Biden, a gesture he had extended Trump upon his election as US president in December 2016. 

The government's controversial drug war had resulted in the death of 5,980 people from July 1, 2016 until Nov. 30, 2020, according to official data. Rights groups, however, say thousands more died in alleged extrajudicial killings.


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