MALACAÑANG on Wednesday expressed optimism that President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration would maintain its “close and friendly” ties with the United States (US) under the leadership of President-elect Joe Biden.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement, as he extended the Philippine government’s congratulatory message to Biden who will be 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.
On Monday, Roque dismissed a claim that Duterte had “lost an ally” since Biden camp is unlikely to compromise human rights issues.
Roque was confident that Biden 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.
The Philippines’ relationship with the US had improved under the presidency of Donald Trump, who Duterte branded as his “friend.”
Trump’s successor, Biden, served two terms as Obama’s vice president, from 2009 until 2017.
Trump will skip Biden’s inauguration. However, Obama and former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will attend the swearing in rites. Philippine News Agency