Palace: ‘Rock star’ Duterte an emerging influential leader in ASEAN

Palace: ‘Rock star’ Duterte an emerging influential leader in ASEAN

After President Rodrigo Duterte delivered a speech at the 13th ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Vientiane, Laos on Tuesday night, some of the attendees reached out to him for a selfie.

For Malacanang spokespersons, this is one of the indications that the President is a “rock star” in the ASEAN region.

“President Duterte is a rock star not only in our country but also in other countries like Laos, Japan—and how the other foreign ministers and delegates have scrambled to get a selfie with our President. You have a President of the Republic who can stand and deliver,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in press briefing Wednesday afternoon.

In the same briefing, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte is becoming an emerging influential leader in the ASEAN region.

“The tone of conversation between the nations seems to indicate that they recognize his influence; they recognize his political will, they recognize his firmness; they recognize his resolve, especially for example, to address drugs, the flow of illegal drugs. In fact, Prime Minister of Singapore asked how he was dealing with it considering the fact that the Philippines does not have the death penalty,” he explained.

“The leadership within the region seems to recognize that he has the political will. And he has been warmly received and warmly admired in spite of the fact that you said it’s a common thing, because they could easily snub him considering the fact that he has also had some noise in the press,” Abella said.

“It’s basically that. It’s just a general assessment that instead of what one would expect would be pretty negative press about him. In fact he seems to be pretty warmly received,” he added.

Abella also that Duterte’s statesmanship during the ASEAN has been ignored because of the “noise,” referring to the President’s choices of words when he was asked about the possibility if discussing extrajudicial killings and human rights with United States President Barack Obama.

“He has a capacity for statesmanship that is usually missed because of the noise regarding some of his statements. But observing him talk with the three countries that he engaged in bilaterally, he was actually engaged in… he was engaging the leaders in a very sophisticated,” Abella said.

“I keep going back to that – very sophisticated political thinking, political conversation. It’s quite admirable. It’s quite admirable that he is able to … that he has able, that he actually engages in this kind of conversation which is not always often seen,” he added. — VVP, GMA News

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