The United States Embassy in Manila on Tuesday denied an alleged plot by its former ambassador to help unseat Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Citing a source, a Manila Times article alleged that former U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg had left behind a "blueprint to undermine Duterte" that is meant to eventually help remove him from office.
The U.S. Embassy, however, said it "categorically denies the allegations and the existence of a 'blueprint'." "As Secretary (John) Kerry said in his meeting with President Duterte in July, the United States respects the sovereignty of the Philippines and the democratic choices made by the Philippine people in selecting their leaders," U.S. Embassy Press Attaché Molly Koscina told ABS-CBN News in a statement.
Koscina also said that the relationship between the two countries is "broad" and its alliance is one of their "most enduring and important relationships in the Asia Pacific region." "It has been a cornerstone of stability for over 70 years. It is built on shared sacrifices for democracy and human rights and strong people-to-people and societal ties. We continue to focus on our broad relationship with the Philippines, and will work together in the many areas of mutual interest to improve the livelihoods of the Philippine people and uphold our shared democratic values," she added.
Malacañang also said it has been informed of the U.S. State Department's denial. "The State Department has denied anything of this sort and has denied any participation in anything of this sort," said presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella during a press briefing on Tuesday. The Palace also seemed unfazed about the rumor, saying Duterte enjoys the trust of the people who "appreciate" what he is doing with the country. "Again let me just say that (even) according to the article, whoever attempts this will find it difficult," he said.