by Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte on Monday said he has the highest respect for former President Fidel V. Ramos despite the former strongman’s criticism against his administration.
Duterte, during the launch of Ramos’s newest book “Make Change Work” in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, said he and Ramos share the same love for the country.
“President Fidel V. Ramos, you are my idol. You are my number one supporter, but at the same time you are the number one critic now,” Duterte said Monday afternoon.
“Love of country, patas tayo (we are equal), Sir. I would say that I love my country as much as you do. And we are ready to die for this country,” he added.
According to Duterte, the only difference between him and the former strongman is principle but he respects Ramos and will continue to accept his criticisms.
“So it is a matter really of principle in life. I respect your criticism. I accept your advice. And maybe I will mimic your role as president before,” Duterte said.
“I will follow you, just like what the T-shirt says. Only difference is that I am not a military man,” he added, referring to the shirt gifted to him by Ramos which bore the words “Follow Me”.
Ramos had accused Duterte of not consulting with members of his Cabinet every time he creates a policy or comes up with a decision. He also criticized Duterte for always mentioning his death in his speeches, saying Duterte should assure the people that he could fulfill his duties.
He also criticized Duterte in his October 30 column in the Manila Bulletin for “complaining” about the Paris Agreement in Climate Change, a landmark international climate pact.
Most recently, Ramos labeled Duterte’s trip to Russia as junket after it was joined by top military or police officials, the same day the Maute Group staged their attacks in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
“I was criticized kasi junket daw, sabi ni Presidente Ramos (Former President Ramos criticized me because he said it was a junket). It was not,” Duterte had said.
‘MAKE CHANGE WORK’
Meanwhile, Duterte also wished success for Ramos’ new book and hoped that it would enlighten the Filipino people.
“Make Change Work, Volume 12,” published by the Manila Bulletin, contains selected articles from Ramos’ Sunday columns in the Manila Bulletin.
“I extend my wholehearted congratulations on the successful publication of “Make Change Work, Volume 12” in the series of compilation of your column in The Manila Bulletin,” Duterte said. “This book is very timely, given these challenges faced by our country today.”
“I hope that this book will enlighten our countrymen on how to achieve genuine transformation for the betterment of our nation which by is working — by working together,” he added.