- In an expletive laden rant, Duterte claims Trump wants to save the VFA
- Trump said he didn't mind Duterte's decision and actually thanks him for abrogating the pact
- Duterte said it's America's fault the Philippines hasn't defeated its communist insurgency
A day before president Donald Trump declared he doesn't care if Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte unilaterally abrogated a military deal with the United States, the Asian leader falsely claimed Trump is doing all he can to save the pact.
Duterte said Trump told him he wanted to save the 1988 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a military pact between both countries that allows U.S. military aircraft and ships free entry into the Philippines and eases visa and passport policies for U.S. military personnel. VFA is part of the U.S.' moves to contain China.
“Now I’ll make it public. I am a public official," said Duterte at gathering of local government executives on Tuesday. "Trump and the others are trying to save the Visiting Forces Agreement. I told him, I don’t want to,” the Phil Star translated.
Trump, however, has not talked to Duterte about the VFA. On Wednesday, Trump said he was thankful to Duterte for trashing the VFA.
“I really don’t mind, if they would like to do that, that’s fine,” said Trump at the White House. “We’ll save a lot of money. You know my views are different from other people. I view it as, ‘Thank you very much, we’ll save a lot of money.’”
Duterte terminated the VFA because the U.S. Embassy in Manila refused to grant a visa to one of his closest allies, Sen. Rolando de la Rosa, to visit the United States. Last month, Duterte threatened to terminate the VFA if de la Rosa didn't get a visa. The U.S. refused to comply with Duterte's demand.
As Duterte's first Philippine National Police chief, de la Rosa carried out Duterte's controversial anti-drug campaign that led to the exceutions of more than 12,000 drug suspects in the Philippines.
In December 2019, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution invoking the Global Magnitsky Act. It called on Trump to impose sanctions on Filipino officials involved in the arrest and jailing of Duterte critic, Sen. Leila De Lima, and those involved in the Duterte government's bloody anti-drug campaign. The Senate named de la Rosa as one of these persona non-grata and ordered his visa revoked.
Duterte then told the local officials he terminated the VFA because of “disrespectful” acts of Americans. Among these acts is a U.S. threat to withhold aid to the Philippines if de Lima isn't released.
“Americans are very disrespectful, really disrespectful," Duterte said in a rant in the Filipino language. "If the CIA is listening, tell your government you are disrespectful. Imagine demanding the release of de Lima under threat that we will not receive the aid, that all persons who had a hand in the imprisonment of de Lima will not be allowed to go to the US?"
"Son of a b---h, what is in America that you have to treat me like that?"
Duterte also said the VFA hasn't benefited the Philippines.
“We’ve been fighting the communists for 53 years," he said. "If America really helped us, son of a b****, how come we are still dealing with it?"