PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte congratulated U.S. President-elect Donald Trump today after the Republican sailed to victory in the nail-biting finish to a closely-fought electoral contest.
According to Reuters, Duterte’s message was delivered by presidential communications secretary Martin Andanar, who said the president also expressed keenness on working together with the 45th U.S. president to enhance bilateral ties.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wishes to extend his warm congratulations to Mr. Donald Trump on his recent electoral victory as President of the United States of America,” Andanar said in a statement, as quoted by GMA News.
“President Duterte wishes President-elect Trump success in the next four years as Chief Executive and commander-in-chief of the U.S. military, and looks forward to working with the incoming administration for enhanced Philippines-US relations anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law,” he added.
Duterte, who recently declared his country’s “separation” from the U.S. under outgoing president Barack Obama’s administration, also reportedly hailed the country’s democratic two-party system, saying it gives American voters freedom of choice based on party platforms and “not just on personalities”.
“The United States presidential election is a testament to the enduring traditions of its democratic system and the American way of life,” the statement said.
The tough-talking Filipino president, who sailed to power earlier this year, has himself been likened to Trump due to his penchant for issuing brash, oftentimes politically incorrect, remarks.
Since coming to power, Duterte has shifted his administration away from the U.S. after coming under criticism for his violent crackdown on drug criminals.
He has also gone on numerous tirades against U.S. leaders, once branding Obama a “son of a bitch”. His remarks have even earned him criticism from Trump, who said the Filipino politician’s comments against the U.S. showed a lack of respect.
Trump claimed victory today after a tight race with senator Hillary Clinton, clinching 276 electoral college votes and surpassing the 270 votes needed to secure the four-year term in the White House.