Duterte belies rumors on Yasay exit


Posted at Jul 19 2016 04:18 PM

President Duterte greets Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call at the Malacanan Palace. Malacanang Photo

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte belied rumors that Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay was going to be replaced.

In a video released by Malacanang on Tuesday, Duterte said Yasay "has my backing and full support."

"I place my entire trust on him...That's why he's there," Duterte said.

"Let me douse cold water on the rumor...Sana matapos na yang haka-haka," he added.

Duterte issued the statement a week after the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines' case against China over conflicting claims in the West Philippine Sea.

Yasay on Tuesday said he met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of a summit of Asian and European leaders on the weekend.

Yasay said Yi had proposed bilateral talks but only on issues "outside, or (in) disregard of, the arbitral ruling," which he declined because it was not in the Philippines' national interests.

"They insisted for us not to even make any comments about that...(Yi) had asked us to open ourselves for bilateral negotiations but outside, or (in) disregard of, the arbitral ruling," Yasay said in an interview with ABS-CBN news channel, referring to the ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

"This is something I told him was not consistent with our Constitution and our national interest." With Reuters

PH rejects China offer to disregard arbitral ruling before talks