MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte just wants to be “friends” with China and Russia to show the international community that the Philippines is not limited to a few countries, particularly the United States.
“I am not ready for military alliances because we have a treaty that was signed in the 50s. But I am ready to cooperate with my new friends – China and Russia – to make this world more peaceful,” Duterte said in an interview with Russia’s RT Documentary Channel.
The Philippines has an existing Mutual Defense Treaty with the US, which was signed on Aug. 30, 1951.
Duterte revealed that in his previous meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev at the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Laos, he did not ask for anything from Russia.
“I personally requested to speak with the prime minister of Russia, Medvedev. So I told him my problem, and I said, you know, ‘I am not asking for anything. We can survive with nothing. But I just want you to know that they want to be closer to you and China because I do not like what is happening to us,'” the president said.
The chief executive once again criticized the US for threatening to cut its assistance to the Philippines following the spate of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.
Duterte noted that the US has been threatening him with prosecution over extrajudicial killings when it is not even a signatory of the International Criminal Court.
“And here is a guy threatening me with prosecution…then you see ‘extrajudicial killing’. What is that word? That is a word of a criminal justice system being adopted by the human rights commission. So if you are not a member, what’s your business in mentioning those words?” Duterte said.
Duterte stressed that it is not a crime to protect his people.
“And you trivialize that with a prosecution and mentioning about the cutting of the assistance that we get,” the president said.
The president also noted that most of the Filipino people support the country’s alliance with the US only because it has been a colony for 50 years.
“It should not surprise you. It’s ingrained in the genealogy of the Filipinos,” Duterte said.
Duterte, however, challenged those who want to prosecute him to come up with evidence first.
The president stressed that he will not allow the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings to ask him questions like he is a criminal.
“It would be on TV, maybe I can invite you again as one of the resource persons, I can invite everybody and I will tell the rapporteur: “Do not ask questions me only. I will ask you also,'” Duterte said.
UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard has welcomed the invitation of the president to visit the country for a fact-finding mission.
Callamard is set to visit the Philippines on the first quarter of 2017. The purpose of her visit is to examine the level of protection of the right to life in law and in practice in the country.
Tags: China, drug war, Duterte, extrajudicial killings, Filipino people, human rights, Human Rights Commission, Medvedev, military alliances, mutual defense treaty, Philippines, Russia, U.S., United Nations