By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte is ready to fight for the country’s interests during his visit to Beijing, China this week, his former longtime aide said.
Senator Bong Go made the statement days before Duterte’s scheduled visit to China where he will hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to talk about the 2016 Hague Ruling, among others.
Go told reporters at the National Heroes’ Day rites in Taguig City that what he learned from the 21 years he served the President was that Duterte will push for the country’s interest whenever possible.
“Handang-handa naman po parati si Pangulong Duterte (President Duterte is always prepared). I cannot speak in behalf of the President. Subalit (But) knowing the President for the past 21 years, handang-handa po siya. Alam ko ipaglalaban niya. Marami siyang gustong sabihin na kung ano po ang atin ay atin (he’s always prepared. I know he will fight for it. He has a lot he wants to say about what is ours being ours),” he said.
“Pilipino po si Pangulong Duterte, poproteksyunan niya po ang interes po ng bawat Pilipino (The President is a Filipino. He will protect the interests of every Filipino),” he added.
Duterte was supposed to lead the Heroes’ Day rites Monday morning but opted to rest because he was not feeling well. However, Go told reporters that there was nothing to worry about and that the President’s visit to China will push through.
Meanwhile, Go echoed the sentiments of Malacañang that no one will be able to stop the President from raising the Arbitral Ruling.
“Kahit sino po magsasabi kay Pangulo wala pong makakapigil kay Pangulong Duterte kung ano man po ang gustong sasabihin ng Pangulo (No matter who says what to the President, no one can stop him from saying what he wants),” he said.
“At palagi ko pong naririnig sa kanya, pag interes na po ng bayan o ng Pilipino ang pag-uusapan, magsasalita at ipaglalaban po ni Pangulo (I’ve always heard him say that if the country’s interest is the topic, he will always fight for it),” he added.
“Marami siyang naririnig, na ‘wag, ‘wag i-bring up. Knowing the President, hindi mo siya pwedeng pigilan. He is the President. Eh kung meron pong gustong magpayo sa kanya na ‘wag para ‘wag pong… for courtesy o ano pa man, hindi mo mapipigilan si Pangulo basta interes na ng bayan ang pinag-uusapan (He’s been hearing people advising him not to bring it up out of courtesy or whatever. But knowing the President, you can’t stop him, especially if it’s about the country’s interest. He is the President,” he continued.
President Duterte, earlier, announced that he will be flying to Beijing to finally raise the Hague Ruling with Xi.
However, he hinted that there were people trying to discourage him from doing it. The President said they cannot control his mouth from speaking what he wanted because he is the leader of a sovereign nation.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said that Duterte will not change his mind about finally raising the issue on the Hague Ruling with Xi.
“Kung ano yung sinabi ni Presidente yun na yun. Hindi na mababali yun (Whatever the President said, that’s it. That will not change),” he said.
At the start of his term, President Duterte set aside the Arbitral Ruling to build better relations with China. He, however, vowed to raise it before he steps down.