- Sen. Trillanes accused Pres. Duterte on Monday of being biased against the US
- Trillanes also criticized Duterte’s comments about removing US Special Forces in Mindanao
- According to the senator, the presence of US troops in Mindanao provides plenty of benefits for the Philippines
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Monday accused President Rodrigo Duterte of being biased against the United States.
“The anti-US bias of President Duterte should not be the basis of the re-crafting of our security policies,” Trillanes said.
The senator also criticized the President’s comments about removing the U.S. forces in Mindanao.
“The US special operations forces have been instrumental in the development and increased effectiveness of our AFP operating units in Mindanao since 2001,” Trillanes explained.
Duterte said on Monday that the U.S. Special Forces should leave Mindanao because Americans are the main targets of Abu Sayyaf members for kidnapping.
“Kaya iyong mga Special Forces, they have to go… In Mindanao, maraming mga puti roon, they have to go. I-review ko iyang foreign policy. Hindi ko lang masalita noon out of respect or I do not want a rift with America. But they have to go,” Duterte said.
(That is why the Special Forces, they have to go. In Mindanao, there are many white Americans there, they have to go. I will review the foreign policy. I did not say it then out of respect or I do not want a rift with America. But they have to go.)
According to Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, Duterte’s recent comments about American soldiers in Mindanao is a part of the independent foreign policy planned by the President.
However, Trillanes believes that the presence of U.S. Special Forces in Mindanao has its benefits for the Philippine military.
“Removing the US SOF would deprive the AFP of the invaluable benefits derived from training, logistical support and information exchange,” Trillanes, one of the most vocal critics of the President, pointed out.
The rivalry between Duterte and Trillanes started during the election campaign for the May 9 polls, when the senator accused the then Davao City Mayor of having a bank account with undeclared millions of pesos.