Locsin Jr., T. L. (2019d) June 15. Available at: twitter.com/teddyboylocsin/status/1139837919055818753. Heydarian, R. (2019c) How Duterte`s pivot to China could hurt him politically at home. South China Morning Post. May 4th. Available at: www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3008642/how-philippine-president-rodrigo-dutertes-stubborn-pivot-china. Maitem, J. (2019) The Philippine defence chief is calling for a “diplomatic protest” after the Chinese ship sank fishing boats in disputed waters. South China Morning Post.
June 12th. Available at: www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/3014237/philippines-slams-suspected-chinese-vessel-sinking-fishing. Heydarian, R. (2019th) Closer defence relations between the Philippines and the United States run counter to Rodrigo Duterte`s foreign policy in Beijing. Available at: www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3033268/how-tighter-philippines-us-defence-ties-contradict-rodrigo. Taking into account the dual policy of the Duterte administration is therefore important for two main reasons. First, there is a clarification as to who dictates the foreign policy of the Philippines. This is all the more important since Duterte has largely agreed to take the reins of foreign policy decision-making (Esmaquel II, 2016). Gregorio, 2019; Reganit, 2020). This belief was based legally on the Philippine constitution, which states that the president is the principal architect of Philippine foreign policy (Executive Order No. 292, 1987; Senator Aquilino Pimental et al v Ermita, 2005).
Duterte`s growing personalization as a populist leader and his comparisons with former dictator Ferdinand Marcos further reinforce this view (Arugay, 2018; Koch, 2019b; R. Heydarian, 2019c). Even if the differences in that they have notably “demobilized their traditional opponents by violence” (Abao, 2018; Mendiola, 2019), share commonalities in their authoritarian mode of governance (Peel, 2016; Abao, 2018). A closer look at the tensions in the Duterte administration`s foreign policy may shed light on the degree of influence the president has over other cabinet members. Comments on the joint exercises continue to show their common spirit of unity and AFP`s support for the United States in its diplomatic and military objectives. Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo saw the balikatan drills as an appropriate tribute to the “filipino and American soldier-patriots as they fought side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder, against seemingly insurmountable opportunities` during World War II (Nepomuceno, 2019b). He also acknowledged that “friendship and struggle continue side by side,” also given the current challenges (2019). AFP Chief of Staff Benjamin Madrigal Jr. also points to the camaraderie promoted by the “sustainable defense partnership” in which “troops train and develop scenarios” “defuse the times when Filipinos and American soldiers fought side by side for peace, freedom and democracy” (Nepomuceno, 2019c).