Ex-president resigns as Duterte’s China envoy
MANILA: Former Philippine leader Fidel Ramos ( pix) has resigned as special envoy to China after criticising President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades against the United States and deadly war on crime.
Duterte said late on Tuesday he had received a resignation letter from Ramos, an elderly stalwart of Philippine politics who had been a trusted ally of the new leader but recently branded his rule as a “huge disappointment and let-down”.
According to the president, the pair had disagreed on US relations and the domestic crime war, which has claimed more than 4,000 lives in four months.
“I know he is pro-Western. He is a military man who studied there (in the US). You must remember Ramos finished his (studies) in West Point. He really does not want to fight (with the US),” Duterte told reporters.
Duterte appointed Ramos, president from 1992 to 1998, as his envoy to mend relations with Beijing, which had soured under the previous administration over competing territorial claims to the South China Sea.
Ramos, 88, travelled to Hong Kong in August on an “icebreaker” trip to meet with senior Chinese officials.
But Ramos did not join Duterte in Beijing last month for a state visit that cemented better ties.
Ramos told GMA7 television this week he had resigned because he had done what was needed to improve ties with China.
But Duterte’s comments pointed to a much deeper falling out with Ramos, who he had repeatedly publicly thanked for supporting his bid to become president.
Ramos, a former police and army general, was key in turning the military against Ferdinand Marcos during the 1986 “People Power” revolution. – AFP