WATCH: Panelo explains ‘crossing the Rubicon’ statement of Duterte

In this Oct. 2, 2016 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during the opening of the MassKara festival in Bacolod City. AP/Bullit Marquez, file

MANILA, Philippines – Chief legal presidential counsel Salvador “Sal” Panelo on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement of “crossing the rubicon” with the United States does not mean he is cutting ties with the ally.

“Hindi naman makikipag-break, aayusin niya 'yung relasyon na in such a way na hindi one-sided,” Panelo said, clarifying the statement of Duterte wherein he threatened to break ties with US.

Panelo described Duterte’s usage of the idiom and his statement as “hyperbole.”

According to Panelo, the president just wanted to review the dealings with the US. He said the previous agreements were one-sided as it only favor the American military forces.

It is for this reason that Duterte established an independent foreign policy, Panelo said.

“In my previous speeches, I said, cannot even understand why China is our neighbor and yet we’re not allied with this China but we’re allied with at least 10,000 miles away from us. Puwede naman tayo makipag-kaibigan. ‘Yan ang punto ni Presidente Duterte. Puwede naman tayo makipag-kaibigan sa lahat bakit ba 'yung kalaban ng kaibigan natin ang inaaway natin?” Panelo commented.

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“Dapat based on our own interest as a country, 'yun ang punto ng president,” he added.

Last September 27,  Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay also said that Duterte's "cross the Rubicon" statement does not mean that the Philippines is veering away from its traditional friendship with the US.

Watch Panelo explains Duterte's statement in a media forum.

Panelo explains what Duterte means by crossing... by philstarnews

— Text and Video by Rosette Adel; Video edited by Efigenio Toledo IV

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