US still needs Congress' consent before coming to PH's aid in case of attack 

By Genalyn Kabiling 

The United States government must still get congressional consent to come to the country's aid in case of an armed attack, President Duterte said last Sunday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte  (SIMEON CELI / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

The President however expressed concern that the US Congress was known for its “bullsh*t,” citing the stalemate over the spending bill.

"Any declaration of war will pass Congress. Alam mo naman gaano ka bullsh*t ang Congress sa America ," Duterte said during a campaign rally in Zamboanga City last Sunday.

"Kita mo nga wala pang pera si Trump kasi may stalemate sila. Wala pa silang budget ," he added.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo recently visited Manila and declared the US will defend the Philippines in case of an armed attack in the disputed South China Sea. The US action is supposedly part of its obligation under the 1951 mutual defense treaty signed with the Philippines.

Duterte acknowledged that the United States’ commitment to rally behind the country.

Under the mutual defense pact, the Philippines and United States agreed to help each other in case in case of an “armed attack in the Pacific area” on either party.

"Ngayon ang America nagsabi, 'We will protect you. We will --- your backs are covered I’m sure.' Sabi ko, okay man sinabi ni Mattis sa akin, 'We guarantee you na nandiyan kami sa likod' ," he said.

"Pero ang problema nito ‘yung i-invoke niya ‘yung Defense US Treaty which was entered into by us, by our --- mga ninuno natin. ‘Yung --- na ang attack sa America or ang attack sa atin pareho ra. But sa America magdaan pa ng Congress ," he said.

The President also admitted that the country was almost in the same boat as the United States about the delay in the budget.

Duterte has yet to sign into law the proposed 2019 national budget amid the delays in the deliberation by Congress. The government is currently operating on a reenacted budget after lawmakers sought to address allegations of budget irregularities including suspected last-minute insertions.

"Ako, malapit ma-ganun. Pero timely ibinigay nila ang budget --- mga congressman. Pero di ba na-stall? We were nearing the same situation as with America. Wala silang budget. May pera pero wala," he said.

Duterte however said Congress has recently managed to pass the proposed budget for the year.

"At least sabi ng Congress, 'We will do it.' Pinalusot nila, so no problem. Pero ‘yung lahat, of course, it’s with the cooperation of Congress," he said.