Legazpi City (Nov. 15, 2016) – Malacanang Palace denied reports that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte would be having a one-on-one meeting with outgoing US president Barack Obama during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in Peru later this week.
According to Sec. Martin Andanar, head of the Presidential Communications Office, said the president’s itinerary would be confined to meeting with other world leaders.
Andanar explained that the trip would be focusing on the final drafts of agreements of the APEC leaders which may be signed during the gathering.
The secretary however was quick to state that the said meeting with Obama may or may not happen.
This was the reaction of Andanar amidst high hopes by some sectors that the summit in Peru may be a very good chance for Duterte and Obama to meet and patch up differences strained by the former’s statements against the United States.
In recent media reports, Sec. Delfin Lorenzana of the Department of Defense was quoted as saying that the Philippines will continue to honor its defense agreements with the US.
It will be recalled that Pres. Duterte announced during his visit to China that he was cutting his ties with the US.
He also later announced that he would not be allowing joint military exercises with the US in the West Philippine Sea.
These pronouncements later started a gap between Duterte and former president Fidel Ramos, who supported him during the last elections.
In a latest development, Ramos and Duterte seemed to have ended this rift during a meeting in Malacanang Monday.
This fueled speculations that it was Ramos who suggested the meeting with Obama in Peru. (J. Garalde)