Does it really matter?
Are we going to be better off with our “special relations” with America under a Democratic US administration?
Were we under the previous one?
Here’s a useful tip: In international relations, there are no permanent alliances, just permanent interests.
And since America’s main business is business, then expect business as usual when it comes to bilateral relations with Washington.
Which means that if American economic interests remain safe and protected in the country, then Manila can expect to be chummy with Washington.
That’s just the way it is with the Yanks.
Still, Malacañang has expressed optimism that President Duterte’s administration would maintain its “close and friendly” ties with the US under the leadership of President Biden.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement, as he extended the Philippine government’s congratulatory message to Biden who was formally sworn in as the 46th president of the US on Wednesday.
“It’s always good news that democracy prevailed and we congratulate again the incoming president and we look forward to having close and friendly relations with the Biden administration,” Roque said.
He expressed hope that bilateral relations between the Philippines and the US would stay strong.
“When it comes to foreign relations, the US has continuity,” he said.
He shrugged off remarks made by Ateneo de Manila political science professor Melay Abao that a Biden presidency would mean that Duterte had lost an ally.
“We don’t have a comment on that, that has no basis. We have warm and close ties with the United States,” he said.
Abao claimed Duterte has “lost an ally” since the Biden camp is not likely to compromise human rights issues.
The Washington Post, in an article published in November 2020, also said Biden’s victory presents “practical challenges” to policies that went unchecked during the presidency under his predecessor.
He dismissed the claim since Biden camp is unlikely to compromise human rights issues, expressing confidence that the new US President would not be tough on Duterte’s anti-narcotics drive.
He also hoped that Biden would fulfill his promise to prioritize offering legal status to an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. Such a move, he said, would benefit Filipinos who are in the US.
Duterte’s relations with the US had become strained under then-president Barack Obama who criticized the Philippines’ war on illegal drugs.
Manila’s relationship with Washington had improved under the presidency of discredited Donald Trump, who Duterte branded as his “friend”.
Biden, served two terms as Obama’s vice president, from 2009 until 2017.
“One good thing we can expect, is that as early as now President-elect Biden proposed a law) to legalize the stay of 11 million illegal aliens in the United States and, of course, Filipinos will benefit from that law),” Roque said earlier.
Last year, Roque said Duterte would avoid making judgments about Biden until he finally gets to work with him.
Democrats like former US President Barack Obama have been critical of the administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.