Despite President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's stand on the West Philippine Sea/ South China Sea dispute, President Benigno "PNoy" Aquino III is optimistic his successor will continue the current government policies on the issue.
Despite President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's stand on the West Philippine Sea/ South China Sea dispute, President Benigno Aquino III is optimistic his successor will continue the current government policies on the issue.
In an interview, the outgoing president shared his thoughts on Duterte's position on the dispute. According to him, he believes that Duterte would eventually come around.
"I do believe he's a patriot. I think he's a no-nonsense guy. Once he gets all the facts, then I think he will come to the same conclusion." he explained.
During his campaign, Duterte gave statements on the territorial dispute that were vastly different to the Aquino administration's position, including a joint exploration with China in the disputed area if ever the Philippines' arbitration case before the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunals takes too long.
He also mentioned considering bilateral discussions with China - their preferred mode of negotiations - on the issue, and that the Philippines should not
Incoming foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. has also voiced support on pursuing bilateral negotiations with China on the dispute, which garnered approval from Beijing.
Earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Duterte for his victory, and expressed hope that the two countries would
Duterte, in return, described Xi as a
Change is coming?
PNoy believes that once Duterte starts his presidency, he will eventually shift his perspectives - especially when he sees the situation from a wider perspective, given his enhanced access to information.
This was one of the few questions Aquino responded to that concerned Duterte. He explained that he did not want to sound like he was giving unsolicited advice to him.
Towards the end of May, Aquino revealed in an interview with the New York Times that he expects Duterte to
He added that Duterte must "undoubtedly" have seen that certain rhetorics allowed in the campaign are not allowed in governance, and that the former Davao City mayor will eventually adjust.
Pnoy also gave advice to his successor via an interview with WSJ's Trefor Moss, while saying that there might not be as big of a change as expected.
Duterte's campaign trail has garnered him nationwide attention, with his controversial statements on killing criminals, rape jokes, and expletives to his rivals and to the Catholic Church.
He has not changed the nature of his public statements even after the proclamation of his victory. He has been called out for displaying inappropriate and even unlawful behavior in a press conference, when he catcalled a female journalist while she was raising a question.
He has promised, however, that he would become "prim and proper" once he is sworn in as president.