By Genalyn Kabiling
The Philippine government has congratulated Mahathir Mohamad on his fresh election as Prime Minister of Malaysia and expressed confidence that relations between the two countries will further be strengthened under his watch.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque acknowledged that the government considers Mahathir an "old friend" of the Philippines.
“We wish to congratulate Mahathir Mohamad on his return as Prime Minister of Malaysia," Roque said in a statement.
"Prime Minister Mahathir is an old friend of the Philippines and his fresh mandate augurs well for the deep relations between the Philippines and Malaysia," he added.
Mahathir was sworn into office as Malaysia's new Prime Minister after leading an opposition coalition to election victory. He made a stunning political comeback to unseat Najib Razak who has been implicated in a corruption scandal.
At 92, Mahathir is considered the oldest elected leader in the world. He ruled Malaysia from 1981 to 2003.
The Philippines looks forward to enhanced relations with Malaysia with Mahathir at the helm, according to Roque.
"Malaysia, as we all know, is a brother nation and dependable partner of the Philippines for having played a constructive role towards the attainment of peace and stability in Mindanao," he said.
"We are thus confident that the strong partnership between our countries would continue to be enhanced in the years to come," he said.