By Daniel Llanto | FilAm Star Correspondent
For mishandling the international affairs and relations of the Philippines, former Sen. Sergio Osmeña III on Monday warned of the possible ouster of President Duterte and said the more enemies Duterte makes abroad, the more chances of his being booted out of office.
Osmena expressed this view the same time Vice-president Leni Robredo came out to dismiss speculations that she had a meeting with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Ecuador to seek the global body’s support to unseat President Duterte.
Reports earlier said Robredo traveled to Ecuador from October 15 to 19 to seek Ban’s blessing and enlist U.N. support in ousting Duterte. The President had earlier cursed the U.N. official for criticizing his war on drugs.
Osmeña said Duterte is making enemies, a behavior he said should not be exhibited by a country’s leader. “How do I describe his handling? Mishandling,” Osmeña said.
“We are not supposed to make enemies. We’re supposed to make friends. There is such a thing as diplomacy, iyung tact na hindi ka magsasalita ng masakit, leaving the doors open. But we’re not practicing that. We’re going the other direction.”
Osmeña said Duterte needs to polish his diplomatic skills as his words and actions affect the country and its people.
“I think President Duterte means well. I was happy when he won, but he might want to learn the niceties of international diplomacy. Why make an enemy for nothing”” Osmena said.
The former senator believes Duterte’s men must help the President in the art of diplomacy.
“Hindi pwedeng atras abante, atras abante. It has been happening the whole time,” he said. “They have to think these things thoroughly, para paglabas ng statement eksakto.”
He said a possible ouster of Duterte is real from the way he makes enemies abroad. “In a bigger sense, the more enemies you make, the more chances of being ousted. All of your (enemies) will get together one of these days,” he said.
He believes that while an alliance with China will bring economic benefits to the Philippines, this should not come at the expense of relations with other countries.
Osmeña also believes Duterte weakened the country’s position on the South China Sea dispute when he did not make a stronger assertion of the Philippines’ claim by saying he would be willing to dialogue with China.
“Tingin ngayon sa atin ng buong mundo, ang hina ng tuhod ng mga Pilipino. Isang pitik lang lumuluhod na.” he said.
“Kapag nag-negotiate ka sa Scarborough Shoal, that weakens our position. Why negotiate for our fishermen in our own backyard? That is ours to explore, the 200-km exclusive economic zone, ano pa question dun,” Osmena pointed out.
On rumors that Robredo is working for the ouster of Duterte, the Vice-president said it makes her sad that some people resort to spreading false information.
Georgina Hernandez, Robredo’s spokesperson, said the VP flew to Quito, Ecuador as head of the Philippine delegation for the U.N. Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. Robredo chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
“She had only a picture taken with him (Ban)… They had small talk, it was a very informal meeting,” Hernandez said. Robredo’s photo with Ban was posted on her official Facebook account.
Hernandez said the Vice-president remains focused on her job in the housing sector and in helping Filipinos affected by Typhoon Lawin. “We just want to focus on our job,” she said.
Robredo has repeatedly expressed her support for Duterte and his administration.
Duterte’s ally, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, had accused the Liberal Party, which is headed by Robredo, of attempting to oust Duterte using the issue of extra-judicial killings. Cayetano said an obvious beneficiary of Duterte’s ouster would be Robredo, who would take over as president if Duterte is removed from office.