US-PH ties to remain strong regardless of poll results: envoy

US-PH ties to remain strong regardless of poll results: envoy

US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – The strong relationship between the Philippines and the United States will remain strong whoever wins in the 2020 US presidential elections, Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law said Wednesday.

At the sidelines of the 2020 US Presidential Election Watch Party hosted by the US Embassy in Manila, Law highlighted the “very old” and “very strong” ties between the two nations that endured under different American leaders and administrations in the Philippines.

“Our goal is to find those areas where US-Philippine interests correspond and do our best to have the most productive relationship for the benefit of both our peoples,” he said during an interview.

Law said Washington would continue with this direction “regardless of the results in the US elections”.

“The US relationship is very very old, it’s very very strong, there have been Republicans and Democratic presidents of the US and different administrations of the Philippines — one constant has been the relationship between our peoples,” he said. “The relationship between our countries is always very strong and (I’m) certain it will continue.”

Law said the final poll results may come in a bit late if more people voted by mail. “Typically, those ballots take a little bit longer to count and so there may be some delays depending on the state,” he said.

READ: US polls: What’s at stake for PH

As of 3 p.m. Philippine time, former US vice president and Democratic candidate Joseph Biden leads with 224 electoral votes, while President Donald Trump is catching up with 213, based on PBS NewsHour tally.

There are 538 electors in the electoral college, the system used by the US to determine the winning candidate. A presidential bet must get 270 electoral votes to win the race.

Experts previously said that a Trump reelection would bring a continuation to the US-China rivalry, which could pressure the Philippines to take sides.

A Biden win could de-escalate such tension but the Democratic party’s emphasis on human rights and the rule of law, however, could generate “political pressure” on the Duterte administration, whose hardline policy against illegal drugs had been criticized over alleged human rights violations.

As Washington continues its poll count, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque expressed confidence that the Duterte administration would establish good relations with either Trump or Biden as president.

While President Duterte has a “personal relationship” with Trump, Roque said the chief executive could also build rapport if in case Biden is elected.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. had declined to comment on the possible outcome of the heated race between the two presidential bets, saying he’s not in the position to comment on a foreign state’s domestic affairs. But from his point of view, a Republican administration has a “clearer view” of the world.

“What I have seen is that Republican foreign policy experts and people in charge of American foreign policy under Republican administrations seem to have a clearer view of the world and a more firm, firmness in their decision on what to do about it,” he said in a recent CNN Philippines interview. (PNA)

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