Date
19 January 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte (right) speaks with Fidel V. Ramos. The elder statesman is not impressed with Duterte's war on drugs and coarse language. Photo: WSJ
President Rodrigo Duterte (right) speaks with Fidel V. Ramos. The elder statesman is not impressed with Duterte's war on drugs and coarse language. Photo: WSJ

Ramos: Duterte proving to be a letdown

Former Philippne leader Fidel V. Ramos says the early administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is a disappointment by being too focused on an anti-drug war, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Team Philippines [is] losing… and losing badly,” former President Fidel Ramos, who served six years in the 1990s, wrote in an essay in the Manila Bulletin over the weekend.

“This is huge disappointment and letdown to many of us.”

Ramos’s criticism came despite strong poll numbers for Duterte and amid a barrage of bad press over the president’s deadly war on drugs and the obscenities and insults he has repeatedly directed at foreign critics who express concerns about human rights and due process.

Ernesto Abella, spokesman for Duterte, said the administration respected Ramos and viewed his comments as fatherly advice.

But he said the comments were more about “the president’s language” than “actual actions” he made.

“While there may be some concerns… the president is a man of action and really we need to appreciate that more,” Abella said.

While noting that Duterte’s six-year term had just started, Ramos said there were “obvious failures” at this early stage “on two concepts of primordial importance—leadership and teamwork.”

He said more could have been done if Duterte had “hit the ground running instead of being stuck in unending controversies about extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and in his ability at using cuss words and insults instead of civilized language”.

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