ASEAN SECURITY: MANILA – US Embassy: Threat report tagging Duterte based on public info

In this Oct. 26, 2017 file photo, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim greets the media as he arrives for a forum with Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines in Manila, Philippines. / AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — References on the Philippines in the Worldwide Threat Assessment published by the US Director of National Intelligence were based on information available to the public, the United States Embassy in Manila said.

The assessment, intended for the US intelligence community, tagged President Rodrigo Duterte as a threat to democracy and human rights among Southeast Asian leaders.

US Ambassador to the Philippine Sung Kim met with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Thursday to discuss the report.

“Ambassador Kim explained the nature of the report—an annual assessment on conditions in each of the world’s various regions based on widely available information,” the US Embassy said in a statement released Friday.

The report noted that Duterte said that he could suspend the Constitution, declare a revolutionary government and impose nationwide martial law.

The threat assessment report also cited the Freedom House report where the Philippines was included in the countries that used social media to advance their agenda.

“Their discussion focused on the references to the Philippines in the report, including clarifying that the information about the Philippines had been previously reported by media sources,” the US Embassy said.

The threat assessment report also indicated that democracy and human rights in Southeast Asian countries will remain fragile in 2018 as “autocratic tendencies deepen in some regimes and rampant corruption and cronyism undermine democratic values.”

The Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, however, described the threat report as “myopic and speculative at best.”

‘Speculative,’ says Palace

In a statement released Wednesday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque pointed out that Duterte adheres to the rule of law and remains loyal to the Constitution.

“Our media are still able to broadcast and print what they want — ‘fake news’ included. Our judiciary and the courts are functioning as usual,” Roque said.

“There is no revolutionary government or nationwide martial law, which US intelligence officials are saying that the President might declare or impose,” it read.

The assessment, however, only cites possible actions of governments based on current information. It was the president himself who declared such possibilities. /  Patricia Lourdes Viray ( – February 23, 2018 – 6:28pm

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