Palace: Nothing will change Duterte’s mind about raising Hague Ruling with Xi

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said that President Duterte will not change his mind about finally raising the issue on the Hague Ruling during his bilateral talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after Duterte said that China cannot control his mouth if he wants to talk about the Arbitral Ruling since he is the president of a sovereign nation.

In his Thursday briefing, Panelo said that when Duterte makes up his mind about something, he will push through with it.

“Kung ano yung sinabi ni Presidente yun na yun. Hindi na mababali yun (Whatever the President said, that’s it. That will not change),” he said.

According to Panelo, it is now up to China how they will take the President’s statement about talking about the West Philippine Sea.

“Nasa China yun kung ano ang kanilang reaction doon (It’s now with China how they will react to it),” he said.

“Hindi ba sabi ni Presidente (The President said), ‘Whether you like it or not, I’m sorry but I have to raise it.’ ‘Di ba (right)? Yun na ang decision niya, eh (That’s his decision). He will raise it,” he added.

Duterte is set to embark on a work visit to Beijing, China for a bilateral meeting with Xi where he will raise the Hague Ruling because he thought it was finally time to do it.

In his speech in Tablas Island, Romblon, Duterte said he will ask Xi about how the two countries would peacefully resolve the issue, adding that China cannot stop him from raising it with them.

READ MORE: Duterte to insist on raising the Hague ruling in China meet

“Sabi nila hindi pag-usapan. Sabi ko (They said we will not talk about it. I said), ‘No,'” he said.

“If I’m not allowed as a president of a sovereign nation to talk whatever I want to talk about then let us not rather talk altogether. ‘Wag na (Let’s not). Do not control my mouth because that is a gift from God,” he added.

“So whether you like it or not, it will make you happy or not, angry or otherwise, I’m sorry. But we have to talk about the Arbitral Ruling,” he continued.

At the start of his term, President Duterte set aside the Arbitral Ruling to build better relations with China. He, however, vowed to raise it before he steps down.