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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, October 21, 2016
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Bam: Duterte's comment on
Bongbong ‘disturbing'


Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino said yesterday that President Rodrigo Duterte's introduction of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to the Filipino community in Beijing, China as “the next vice president” if he wins his electoral protest, was “troubling” and a “call for action”.

“Personally, as somebody who supported the vice president (Leni Robredo) it's very troubling for me that that was the way he introduced him (Marcos),” said Aquino who was in Bacolod City yesterday.

“I think that in this region (Negros Island Region), that supported the vice president greatly, I think it's also very troubling for us if that's the way he was introduced. I don't know, maybe they will say again that President Duterte was just joking,” he said.

Definitely any recount of votes has to be closely watched, especially by those who supported Robredo, because we do not want her victory stolen, Aquino said.

“I think it's a call for all of us to be vigilant…in fact it seems people have forgotten that there is a protest, but maybe that's a call to action to us to look at it more thoroughly,” he said.

Asked how he would rate Duterte's performance in his first 100 days, Aquino said “To be very frank and to be very honest, a lot of reforms have been implemented.”

“If you look at a number of the departments you would say that a lot of things have happened… but I think what we see in our newspapers are really the more popular issues that are also quite troubling, considering the numerous vigilante killings, (and) our foreign policy that is not that clear,” he said.

Aquino said he and several other senators are opposed to the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, but are leaving it to the Supreme Court to decide on the matter.

“I am hopeful that they will make the right decision and decide not to bury former President Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” he said.

Asked how the pronouncements of the president against the United States would affect foreign investments in the country, Aquino said “I don't think an independent foreign policy means that we need to fight with other countries. It does not mean that if China is our ally, America is our enemy.”

Even America and China have trade deals, he noted.

An independent foreign policy is stated in our Constitution, “For me what it basically means is we chart our course based on what's best for the Philippines,” he said.

That is why he is very supportive of the moves to get more investments from China, but it does not mean we need to fight with the European Union and the United States, he added

There are many Filipinos working in those countries so you cannot cut ties with them, and they have a lot of investments here, he said.

Aquino said he hopes to get a clarification on the president's foreign policy direction, and has filed a resolution on the matter.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said that after the president's foreign trips, he (Yasay) can come to the senate to provide some clarifications, Aquino said.*CPG




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