Duterte confirms FVR resignation as special envoy to China

Aaron Lozada, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 01 2016 11:33 PM | Updated as of Nov 02 2016 05:07 AM

MANILA - (UPDATED) President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night confirmed the resignation of former President Fidel V. Ramos as special envoy to China.

Duterte made the confirmation during his visit to his parents' grave in Davao City.

"I received his (resignation) last night. I had a copy of his resignation," Duterte said.

He thanked Ramos for his service.

"First, I'd like to thank him for helping me and for being of service to the nation despite his age," Duterte said.

Duterte also said that he would take Ramos' advice. However, he cautioned that he has his own way of assessing things.

"Second, I take his advice, but I have my own way of assessing it," the president said.

Ramos was named special envoy to China in July, days after the Philippines won an international arbitral ruling against China's maritime claims in the South China Sea.

Ramos accepted the offer and traveled to Hong Kong to meet some officials and old friends in the Chinese government.  

Ramos recently criticized some of Duterte's policy pronouncements.

In his Manila Bulletin column published last Saturday, Ramos lashed out at Duterte for his refusal to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Duterte, however, emphasized that he agrees with the comments of the former president on protecting the environment, but emphasized that he just could not agree personally with the climate change pact since it is unfair to developing countries like the Philippines. 

"He was correct, the only problem wala pa yung papel sakin," Duterte said of the climate change pact. "I cannot approve or disapprove something that is not on my table. Of course I have my misgivings, but those were misgivings."

"We are just trying, kakaumpisa pa lang natin, nagyaya ako ng maraming investor, tatayo ako ng industrial estates, there will be a lot of smoke there and pollution of course, titingnan ko lang na mayroon akong leeway, an elbow room to move because the treaty now that is being signed or passed around for signing is binding," Duterte explained. 

(We have just started. I have invited a lot of investors to the country. I will build industrial estates and there will be a lot of smoke and pollution, of course. I want to know if there will be a leeway, an elbow room to move because the treaty now that is being signed or passed around for signing is binding.)

"I have to study the matter very carefully, maybe in the Senate, I was just giving my misgivings about, baka hanggang dito ka lang (it might be too limiting)," Duterte added.

Ramos has also lamented that the Philippines lost badly during the first 100 days of the Duterte administration. 

He said Duterte got "stuck in unending controversies about extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and in his ability at using cuss words and insults instead of civilized language." 

"In the case of his recent 'Hitler quip' no amount of apology could mollify the long-suffering Jews who have done well for the Philippines," he said, citing how former President Manuel Quezon allowed 30,000 Jewish families to seek refuge in the Philippines.

Ramos also called out the "off-an-on statements" by Duterte and his officials on U.S.-Philippines relations, including his tirades against U.S. President Barack Obama, outgoing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the U.S.-Philippines military cooperation.

"So, what gives? Are we throwing away decades of military partnership, tactical proficiency, compatible weaponry, predictable logistic and soldier-to-soldier camaraderie just like that? On President Duterte's say-so?" he said.

A Ramos aide on Tuesday said the resignation had nothing to do with his view on Duterte's performance.