President Rodrigo Duterte said that he will decline an invitation from United States President Donald Trump for him to join other ASEAN leaders to visit the U.S. for a summit in Las Vegas, Nevada on 14 March.
The President made the remark during a one-on-one interview by the Russian Times at Malacañang last Tuesday.
When asked by the reporter if he will go, the Chief Executive said no.
“I just received an invitation to go to the United States together with the ASEAN leaders. I haven’t been to the States. I was invited by Obama a while back,” President Duterte said.
“No. No,” he added.
The President said even if he wanted to make friends with the US, things turned soured when then US President Barack Obama criticized him with regard to the government’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs.
“Yeah, but one time when I was being criticized by Obama in a press conference he should have realized that I was also a head of a sovereign state. He should have criticized me in a proper venue,” the President said.
“He should have brought the case to the United Nations rather than castigate a president of another country in a press con. So I got mad. So I said a lot of cuss, epithets. I said he’s a son of a… “You son of a…” he added.
When asked for a clarification about the President’s remark, Chief presidential Legal Counsel and Spokesman Salvador Panelo told Daily Tribune that he will clarify the matter to the President.
“I’ll ask him tonight when we see each other, about to take off for Bacolod,” he said.
In a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday, Panelo said from the look at President Duterte’s response, he would like to go the United States but is unsure if he will be allowed entry as he still has no visa.
“From what I look at his response is, he wants to go. That’s what’s on my mind but how can I go with America’s condition. I don’t even know if I can enter there. I don’t even have a visa, right?”
“This was his response. And then there was this uproar about the five senators introducing provisions in the budget in relation to Ms. De Lima. He said, one, he has to ponder over it. Why?
Because he doesn’t want to go there and if he is already there, some US senators would be unhappy seeing him there, because he is supposed to be number one on the list.”
“Number two, sabi niya, “I do not even know if US will issue me a visa. And if I’m issued a visa, I do not know if when I arrived in the States I would be allowed entry.” he added.
“So in other words, the ball has been thrown to them. Then they have to do something about it. Since the President has already made his position on the matter, “ he added.
When reminded that it would put the country in a bad light if the President is the only ASEAN leader that would possibly not go to the summit if he declines the invite, Panelo said that is assuming that he won’t go.