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US Elections: Palace reiterates Duterte can work with any US president

MJ Blancaflor

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The Philippines can work with any United States president since the country shares long-standing ties with the global superpower, the Palace maintained Thursday.

President Rodrigo Duterte will foster good relations with whoever wins the 2020 presidential polls, said his spokesperson Harry Roque, as incumbent President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are in a close race to win the White House.

This is a reiteration of Roque’s earlier remarks where he said that there will be no major changes in the bilateral relations between Manila and Washington whatever the outcome of America’s presidential elections will be.

“It does not matter who wins. It won’t be a problem for our President,” Roque said in a televised briefing. “We can work with any President because we have had a long history of very close friendship with the United States.”

As of Thursday noon, Biden was a mere 17 electoral votes away from claiming the presidency after wins in Michigan and Wisconsin, as Trump’s hopes of clinching reelection appeared to be slipping away.

The race tightens in six battleground states of Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

President Duterte has maintained a cordial relationship with Trump, even if he sought closer ties with China and Russia. As early as February, Duterte urged US citizens with Filipino links to vote for Trump.

Political analysts have guessed that a win for Biden could pose challenges to the Duterte government since the former US vice president is known for his “aggressive” stance in addressing human rights issues.

Duterte and his allies often blast foreigners who appear to meddle with the country’s domestic affairs when they seek to hold him accountable over alleged human rights abuses in his anti-narcotics campaign, which has so far killed over 5,000 drug suspects according to government data. Human rights groups peg the fatalities at 20,000.

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