US mum on meeting with Philippine official over Duterte's remarks
( - August 10, 2016 - 10:05am

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2, 8:02 p.m.) — The US Department of State on Tuesday refused to give details about the meeting with the Philippines' charge d'affaires following President Rodrigo Duterte's comment against an American official.

Elizabeth Trudeau, spokesperson of the US Department of State, said US officials were seeking "perhaps a better understanding of why that statement was made."

"I have no further details of that discussion to read out. I’ll leave our comments on that – on what was said yesterday," Trudeau said at a press briefing, the transcript of which was made available by the State department.

Asked by a reporter if there were discussions on whether the US would withdraw its financial aid to the Philippines, Trudeau gave a concise response. "Not in my awareness, no," she said.

Trudeau earlier said that the security assistance is subject to vetting and meant to promote "human rights through training content and by promoting professionalism, due process, and rule of law."

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose confirmed that the Philippines' charge d'affaires in Washington was invited to the State Department to discuss the entirety of  Philippines-US relations.

"We cannot, however, discuss details of the conversation. What I can tell you is that Philippines-US relations remain strong," Jose said in a statement.

The US Department of State earlier this week summoned the Philippines' charge d'affaires in Washington after Duterte delivered a speech before troops in Cebu City last Friday. The president openly slammed Goldberg for some statements made during the campaign season.

"Kaya nga sabi ko nung si (US Secretary of State John) Kerry, kasama kami ni (Defense) Secretary, si Delfin (Lorenzana), kausap namin si  Kerry. Okay naman siya kasi, nag-away kami ng ambassador niya (Philip Goldberg). 'Yung ambassador niyang bakla, p*****i**, buwisit ako diyan. Nakikisali doon sa election, giving [a] statement," Duterte said.

Trudeau called the comments against the ambassador "inappropriate."

"The first, specifically on the remarks, we’ve seen those inappropriate comments made about Ambassador Goldberg. He’s a multi-time ambassador, one of our most senior US diplomats. We have asked the Philippines charge to come into the State Department to clarify those remarks," Trudeau said at a press briefing on Monday.

In April, Goldberg agreed with Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely who condemned then presidential candidate Duterte's joke about rape. "Statements by anyone, anywhere that either degrade women or trivialize issues so serious as rape or murder are not ones that we condone," Goldberg said in a television interview.

Carolyn Glassman, counselor for public affairs at the US Embassy in Manila, said Goldberg's comment was consistent with the United States' values. She also clarified that the ambassador has been misinterpreted by news reports. He was previously quoted as saying "continuity is better than change" in a previous interview with The Manila Times.

"The ambassador actually said 'continuity is greater (more common) than change'—not that it is better," she told in a text message.

Glassman explained that the quote was also taken out of context as Goldberg was referring to foreign policy and relations as well as the nature of the relationship between the two countries, "not a quality of any candidate in the Philippine presidential election." — Patricia Lourdes Viray with Camille Diola


Editor's note: The latest update was made to reflect clarifications made by the US Embassy in Manila regarding the statements by the Department of State's Elizabeth Trudeau.


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