Press Release
September 7, 2016


Senator Richard J. Gordon yesterday said a golden opportunity for better understanding and communicating may have been missed but the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United States (US) will remain strong despite the recent incident involving the presidents of both countries, which prompted US President Barack Obama to cancel a planned meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.

In an interview, Gordon pointed out that both presidents may have missed a golden opportunity for talking, getting to know and understanding one another better, but things are not too late, in view of the deep-rooted RP-US relations.

"I don't think so. Countries work on national interest not on personalities alone. Even Obama's statement reflected that. Remember itong si Obama ay galing sa Chicago. Yun mga tao sa New York, Chicago, mga siga, pati mag salita dyan. May mga nagbabarilan din dati dyan. May mga massacre din dyan noong araw. At naiintindihan nya kung medyo maanghang ang salita pero ang sabi nya ang relasyon natin ay beyond that. Ang relasyon natin ay mahaba pa at marami pa tayong pagsasamahan kaya hindi ako natatakot doon," the senator said.

"Yan ang importante. Dapat hindi pa huli yan. Kung ako ang mga Amerikano wag silang napipikon dahil iba pa rin ang kultura natin, humahabol pa rin tayo dun sa tinatawag na political correctness di ba. Importante yan, kung hahabulin natin yung political correctness talaga eh medyo nahuhuli ang Pilipinas kaya dapat ay medyo maintindihan tayo ng ibang bansa na ang pangulo natin ay paminsan-minsay ay iba ang porma ng salita pero yung content ang mas mahalaga," he added.

Gordon also opined that although Duterte may not be as cosmopolitan as the other presidents or his diplomatic skills may need further improvement, he was right in saying that there is no need for a "primus inter pares" treatment by America or for it to take a holier-than-thou attitude on the former's war against drugs.

"Pero tama siya. Ang relasyon natin ay hindi yung una ang Amerikano, tapos equal tayo. Hindi primus inter pares, dapat parehas lang. After all, pinakinabangan din naman tayo. After all, the same accusation could have been made about the Battle of Bud Dajo, Sulu where there was a massacre at the end of the century. At that time, America would have been judged as a rogue country, killing people. Now that America achieved its economic and military superiority throughout the world, they can judge other countries. I think other countries must remind themselves that we are in the process of evolution. We are trying to be a better country," he said.

The senator pointed out that with Duterte's sincere efforts to eradicate the country's drug problem and address other problems that the Philippines is facing, the president obviously has so much in his plate that at times, he is prone to making statements that he would not otherwise say if the problems were not that tremendous.

"To me he is very sincere in eradicating the drug problem which, by the way other countries have not been. He is very good. 91% of this country have not really complained about what is happening. Nobody knows who are doing the vigilante killings. Again nobody knows about the killings perpetrated by persons riding in tandems on motorcycles that have been going on in this country for a long time and nobody was complaining, even in the international community," Gordon said.

"Even if their people are being beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf and now, finally after so many bombing of ships, plazas - you know 116 people were killed in the ferryboat here a few years ago, 39 people were killed in Parang and in 2003 there were 2 killing by bombings, etc. Nobody really wanted to have a solution to it. Now that it is being addressed. We have a problem. He wants to solve the problem," he added.

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