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After visiting Asian neighbors in the past few weeks, President Rodrigo Duterte should consider making a state visit to the United States — a country he repeatedly maligned in speeches — next, a lawmaker proposed Wednesday.

In a media briefing, Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque expressed fears the US government might attempt to overthrow Duterte if he continues being averse to it. "I relayed to Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay that after the trip to Japan, we should prepare a state visit to the US and my reason to Yasay was very pragmatic," said Roque, who was part of the Philippine contingent when Duterte visited China last week to strengthen ties between the two countries. "Unless we pay a state visit to the US, baka the US will take steps to remove Duterte," he added.



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Erap Roque recalled how former President Joseph Estrada was ousted from office in 2001 after he went against then-US President Bill Clinton's advice to stop the Philippine government's all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mindanao. Estrada, in an October 22 statement supporting Duterte's decision to cut ties with Washington, said the US government was behind his ouster, and warned the incumbent Philippine leader that it might do the same to him. The US Embassy in Manila did not issue a statement on Estrada's claim.


Roque, on Wednesday, said it is public knowledge that "Americans have deposed governments" in the past, citing a 1986 decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) finding the US government guilty of intervening in internal affairs and violating the sovereignty of Nicaragua. At the time, Nicaragua accused the US of encouraging, supporting , and aiding the rebellion against the Nicaraguan government and launching armed attacks against Nicaragua by air, land, and sea. "Hindi lang haka-haka. Nagkaroon ng demandahan sa ICJ. Binomba ang Nicaragua. Nagkaroon ng political assassination at lahat iyan, binigyan ng kumpirmasyon ng ICJ. Hindi ito usapang barbero lang," said Roque.


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Friends with US Roque stressed the Philippines should "continue being friends" with the US, its longtime ally, regardless of who would win in the upcoming US presidential elections between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Since assuming the presidency, Duterte has so far visited six countries, all in Asia, in an apparent thrust to prioritize improving ties with neighbors over western counterparts. Duterte is currently in Japan for an official visit from October 25 to 27. Before that, he made state visits to Brunei from October 16 to 18, and China from October 18 to 21. He also made an official visit to Vietnam last September 28, after his first foreign trip to Laos to attend the ASEAN Summit. He has also visited Indonesia. "Although we have given priority to Asian neighbors, we value the US next," said Roque.

Source:GMA NEWS

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