Trump calls Duterte 'Frank Sinatra,' PH top diplomat says


Posted at Sep 26 2019 05:10 PM

U.S. President Donald Trump talks with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during the gala dinner marking ASEAN's 50th anniversary in Manila, in this November 12, 2017 file photo. Jonathan Ernst, Reuters/file

MANILA - United States President Donald Trump conveyed his regards to President Rodrigo Duterte, whom he called “Frank Sinatra,” the country's top diplomat said Wednesday.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., who is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, said the encounter happened during a photo shoot with Trump and his First Lady Melania.

Trump was apparently recalling Duterte’s performance during Manila’s hosting of the ASEAN Summit in 2017, according to Locsin. 

The Philippine leader performed the OPM hit "Ikaw" with Pilita Corales, upon the request of Trump.

"At photo shoot w/ Pres. Trump and First Lady Melania, I shook his hand, he looked straight at me and said, 'Say Hi to Frank Sinatra.' Me stunned: 'I admire you so much.' He: 'You know who I mean?' 'Uh.'," Locsin said in a tweet.

"I remembered—Duterte joined Pilita Corales in song at ASEAN. I love that guy," Locsin quoted Trump as saying.

Several analysts have drawn supposed similarities between Duterte and Trump, with Duterte being called the "Filipino Trump,” and Trump the “American Duterte.”

Locsin's counterpart, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, earlier likened Duterte to Trump.

--With a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News