Senator Alan Peter Cayetano has issued an open letter to United States President Barrack Obama, ahead of the 49th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders Summit in Laos.
In the letter, Cayetano appealed to the US President to “give the Philippines and President [Rodrigo] Duterte a chance” and help the country pursue its own national identity and independent foreign policy, expounding that this would be marked by balanced friendship and mutual respect with the US and China.
"We finally have a President who has faith in God, who has a deep love for our people, who is willing to sacrifice even his life and honor to see that change comes to all Filipinos," Cayetano wrote.
"President Duterte and our entire nation is now fighting 3 wars simultaneously," he added, referring to Duterte's war against poverty, crime, and drugs.
Duterte and Obama are expected to meet at the sidelines of the regional summit, slated to begin on Tuesday.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair commended Obama for his strength and on succeeding despite the challenges he faced, adding that now is the Philippines’ turn to experience change to believe in, echoing the theme of Obama’s campaign.
The senator also added that the US President knows the weight and the burden of fixing the country’s problems.
“After decades of hopelessness and up to 10 million Filipinos leaving our country to find work in foreign lands and after an entire generation exposed to the perils of illegal drugs, we finally have a President who is trying to get the country back on the right track," Cayetano explained.
He also added that Duterte has been misjudged by some sectors based on his way of speaking.
“Does he not deserve to be judged on his record and his actions? On facts and not manipulated statistics? On where he wants to bring the country rather than his sometimes politically incorrect words?” the senator wrote.