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Palace summons US envoy to discuss latest US threat assessment on Duterte


By Genalyn Kabiling

Malacañang has summoned United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim to discuss the latest US threat assessment on President Duterte and offer to provide “accurate information” about the administration and other realities on the ground.

U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim

US Ambassador Sung Kim

The meeting was called by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea at the Palace on Thursday, according to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

“Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea summoned United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim yesterday, February 22, where they discussed the latest US Intelligence Community’s Worldwide Threat Assessment report,” Roque said.

He said Medialdea has directed the Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Philippine embassy in Washington D.C., “to coordinate and engage with the US agencies involved in the writing of the assessment.”

Medialdea also directed embassy officials to provide the US with “accurate information on the realities happening on the ground in the Philippines,” Roque said.

The information must include actions taken by the President and his administration to promote socioeconomic development for the country and provide a safe and secure environment for all Filipinos, “respecting at all times the rule of law,” Roque added.

Earlier, the US Intelligence Community recently released its worldwide threat assessment report, warning that democracy and human rights in many Southeast Asian countries would remain fragile this year. The report, produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, also noted that autocratic tendencies deepen in some regimes while rampant corruption and cronyism undermine democratic values.

On the Philippine leader, it cited Duterte’s pronouncement that “he could suspend the Constitution, declare a ‘revolutionary government,’ and impose nationwide martial law.”

Malacañang has dismissed the US intelligence community’s assessment on the President as “myopic and speculative at best.”

“For one, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is no autocrat or has autocratic tendencies. He adheres to the rule of law and remains loyal to the Constitution,” Roque said. “There is no revolutionary government or nationwide martial law, which US intelligence officials say Duterte might impose,” he added.

Roque later said the reports claiming the US intelligence considers Duterte a threat to democracy in Southeast Asia was a mere “clickbait headline.”

“In particular, we described as myopic and speculative, its reference to the President’s suspending the Constitution declaring revolutionary government and imposing nationwide martial law. I hope this clarifies this matter,” he added.

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