Duterte rejects US invite for leaders’ summit

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2020 05:33 PM

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MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte said he would decline an invitation to attend a leaders’ summit in the United States on March 4.

Duterte responded “no” when asked if he would go to a summit between the US and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this March.

The President, in a Jan. 21 exclusive interview with Russia Today, also recalled his dismay over former United States President Barack Obama’s criticism of the Philippine government’s war on drugs.

“He (Obama) should have realized that I was also the head of a sovereign state. He should have criticized me in the proper way. He should have brought the case to the United Nations rather than castigate a president of another country in a presscon,” Duterte said.

The White House invited Duterte and other Southeast Asian leaders to attend the summit on March 4 in Las Vegas.

Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo on Thursday said the President appeared to have some reservations on Washington’s offer.

“I do not even know if the US will even issue me a visa and if the US will issue me a visa, I do not know if I will be allowed entry,” Panelo quoted Duterte as saying.

Some American lawmakers might also be “unhappy,” Panelo said, over Duterte’s presence in the US following an entry ban included in Washington’s 2020 budget law against top Philippine government officials behind the supposedly trumped-up drug charges used to detain his critic Senator Leila de Lima.

“He (Duterte) said he has to ponder over it because he doesn’t want to go there and if he’s already there, some US senators might be unhappy seeing him there,” Panelo said.