MANILA – The Philippines summoned the ambassador of the United States in Manila on Friday to discuss a report by the Central Intelligence Agency suggesting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was a threat to democracy.
Sung Kim met Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
The summon comes days after a report by the CIA and other US intelligence agencies suggested Duterte was a threat to democracy in Asia and compared him to autocratic heads of state in the region, including Cambodia’s Hun Sen.
The document referred mainly to Duterte’s “war on drugs,” which has led to over 7,000 deaths in the Philippines and also said that the leader could “suspend the Constitution, declare a ‘revolutionary government,’ and impose nationwide martial law.”
The Philippine presidential office denied the reports and Medialdea told Kim that the Philippine embassy in Washington will give US intelligence accurate information about the reality in the Asian country, the spokesperson said.
The Philippines will also try to convince the US that Duterte respects the rule of law, Roque added.
Meanwhile, the US ambassador explained to Medialdea the nature of the CIA report, which is based on widely available information, according to a statement sent to EFE by the US embassy.
At the end of the meeting, both officials reaffirmed the strength of the broad and deep bilateral relationship after stressing that the US will continue collaborating with the Philippine government, the statement added.
Relations between the two traditional allies have cooled since June 30, 2016, when Duterte took office.
On Thursday, Duterte accused the CIA of funding a local news website, which is critical of his government, in order to destabilize the government.