Duterte calls on Filipino-Americans to vote for Trump

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MANILA (The Philippine Star) — Filipino-Americans should support the reelection of U.S. President Donald Trump, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said in a televised press conference Monday night in Malacañang, the presidential palace.

“To the Filipinos (in America)... if this comes out, vote for Trump. And they say that I am interfering? Of course, I am interfering,” he said.

In endorsing Trump, Duterte said he was intentionally interfering with America’s politics as a way of getting back at U.S. legislators who have been meddling with the Philippines’ internal issues.

“Tell that to the Americans that Duterte is insisting on interfering. You know why? Do you know why I’m interfering? Because they did it first. They (accuse us of the) extrajudicial killing 70,000 (people),” he said.

Moments earlier, Duterte was asked for his reaction to the petition filed by members of the Philippine Senate in the Supreme Court to require congressional concurrence to his abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement or VFA with the U.S.

Duterte said he would work to ensure the VFA is terminated at the end of the 180-day period from the date the notice was served to the U.S.

“I am not reneging on the VFA (termination) and I am not going to America to discuss this with anybody though I respect highly Trump,” he said.

Duterte hinted that recent developments from the U.S. side — such as the Magnitsky Act — that ultimately led to his decision to unilaterally end the VFA could be linked to the upcoming U.S. elections.

“And if that was a political move by the (U.S.) senators to win the Filipino-American votes there, I’m telling the Filipino now, you are getting the best deal with Trump,” Duterte said.

Trump, whom Duterte had described as “a good friend,” is seeking reelection in November.