Press Release
October 20, 2016

Koko expresses support for President Duterte's foreign policy

Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III threw his all-out support for the independent foreign policy of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In an interview held on Wednesday, October 19, Pimentel lauded Duterte and defended his stand over his recent pronouncements on dealing with the United States and other Western countries.

"It's very good that for the first time, we have a president who is now emphasizing that concept in our Constitution, that we must pursue an independent foreign policy," Pimentel, a bar topnotcher, said.

He said the president's pronouncement on his foreign policy "is the first step into having an independent foreign policy" and Filipinos "should realize that there are other powers, other points of view than the American point of view, which we should open ourselves too."

"If we do not accept or realize that, we could never have an independent foreign policy because we will always toe the American line," said Pimentel.

Amidst the President's fierce criticism of some western nations, the Senate leader explained that, "[the President] just emphasized our need and his desire to pursue an independent foreign policy. Masyadong nakadikit ang pusod natin sa pusod ng Amerikano."

"'s time to [step] back but ultimately hindi po tayo mag-aaway," he added.

Asked if opening to other countries entailed moving away or antagonizing other nations, Pimentel replied, "No, let the Philippines be a friend to all nations."

Pimentel's remarks matched the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte in China, who said, "There will be no military alliances entered into. There will be no military alliances broken. What I am just saying is that we are not interested in adding fuel to what is already a volatile world."

Pimentel ended the interview by saying he believed that the alliance between the Philippines and the United States is still ironclad since the bond between the two nations "is people to people."

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