A British paper, The Independent, used a misleading title ‘Hand in hand with a killer’ where US President Donald Trump was captured in a handshake gesture with Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in a traditional photo ops of world leaders during the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila.
“The Independent” according to surveys, is one of the most-read online platforms in the United Kingdom, published a photo on its front page with this caption:
“Donald Trump hailed his ‘great relationship’ with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.”
The said photo was captured on Monday, the first day of ASEAN Summit meetings held in the capital of the Philippines.
But the newspaper did not indicate who the killer was.
On their first formal and personal talks during the ASEAN Summit, the two tough-talking leaders discussed several issues including trade and the campaign against illegal drugs of the Duterte administration.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Trump emphasized trade between the two countries. Particularly, Trump pointed out the taxes given to imported cars from USA while there were no taxes for cars coming from Japan.
In lieu with this, Duterte is open for a free trade agreement with America.
The two leaders also talked about the campaign against illegal drugs of the Duterte administration. Roque said that there were some things Trump asked Duterte about how severe is the problem of the illegal drugs in the Philippines.
The two leaders strengthened the friendship of the Philippines and America and both agreed on the same note about one person.
“It’s very apparent that both of them have a [common] person who they consider as not their best friend. They have similar feelings towards former US President Barack Obama,” Roque said. “He [Trump] made the assurance that President Duterte has a friend in the person of President Trump.”
Duterte, from his previous speeches, send tirades to the former US President, even calling him, “a son of a whore”. Obama criticized Duterte on his alleged inhumane process on his campaign against illegal drugs.
The ASEAN Summit, with a theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World, ended Tuesday night with a successful note from President Duterte, who is the chairman of ASEAN Summit.
After his speech, Duterte turned over the chairmanship to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
“As the Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN draws to a close, I reiterate my commitment that my country, as ASEAN Chair, will remain steadfast in upholding the ideals and values we hold dear and in working for the realization of our shared aspirations,” Duterte said.
“It means for Singapore a stabler world to live in, a safer South-east Asia in which we can operate, a more prosperous region in which we can grow our economy, expand our markets and seize opportunities which will be there,” he said.
PM Lee also congratulated the Philippines for its successful chairmanship. A major highlight was a framework for the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
Even though the subjects on human rights and extra judicial killings in the Philippines did not arise in Trump and Duterte bilaterial meetings, Presidential Spokesman Hary Roque said that Trump did not express his official position on Duterte’s campaign on illegal drugs.
“He was merely nodding his head, indicating he understood the domestic problem that we face on drugs,” Roque said.
The tough president was criticized by the international community on his ‘brutal’ way of implementing program on illegal drugs in the Philippines.
He even maligned United Nations, European Union and even former President Obama calling him ‘son of a whore’, for not getting the context on his war on drugs. He even criticized the international media of being ‘one-sided’ on the issue and not delving on the root cause of the problem.
But if you will ask common masses in the Philippines, they overwhelmingly give Duterte’s illegal drug campaign an approval sign, based on latest surveys.