Whether Trump or Biden wins, PH will insist on sovereignty, says envoy
MANILA - The Philippines will maintain its stand that it is a sovereign nation and must be respected by the United States, no matter the winner of the presidential elections, Manila's ambassador to Washington said Wednesday.
President Rodrigo Duterte and former President Barack Obama had frayed ties when the US leader criticized his Philippine counterpart's human rights record in light of the war on drugs.
But relations between Duterte and President Donald Trump, a Republican who succeeded Obama, were warmer as the current administration was seen as less critical of the Philippine leader's anti-narcotics campaign.
Human rights issues have been around even in many administrations past, said Jose Manuel Romualdez, Philippine ambassador to the United States.
Should Democrat Joe Biden win the presidency and his party brings out the issue, the Philippines will remain firm on its stand, that supposed extrajudicial killings were not state-sanctioned and are "perpetrated by police officers who are involved with drugs," said Romualdez.
"The bottomline message that we continue to give here, both to Democrats and Republicans is that we are a sovereign nation, we are a country that is democratic like the United States, we have a President that is duly elected just like they have an election here now. We have to respect each other. Everyone’s got our laws and we have to respect that," he told ANC's Headstart.
"If we continue to always have the United States telling us what to do, then we will never be really an independent nation. Now more than ever, it is clear here in Washington DC that we have to have that mutual respect for our sovereignty," he said.
It's possible that a Biden presidency will keep an eye on different issues, such as the cases of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and detained Sen. Leila de Lima, but the Philippines will also be consistent in saying "that they have to wait and see the way our courts will conduct all these trials," said Romualdez.