U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by telephone on Tuesday with the incoming president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, and a senior White House aide said Washington hoped for continued efforts to respect the rule of law and combat corruption in the country.
Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, did not refer directly to allegations of human rights abuses against Duterte, although he told a seminar there had been some “controversy” and “statements that drew attention in the past.”
“But look, this is a new government and we’ll want to hear from them directly what their priorities are,” he said when asked about the May 9 presidential election in the Philippines.
Rhodes said Washington hoped “to build on progress made with the last administration” in the country, and added:
“For us the priorities will remain the security and the prosperity of the Philippines; we’ll want to see continued efforts in the Philippines to respect the rule of law and combat corruption, just as we support those kinds of efforts across Asia and around the world.” Read more