Offhand, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with President Rodrigo Duterte going to Russia in order, he says, to correct the country’s “overdependence on traditional partners.”
Presumably the Philippines’ chief executive expects to receive the same kind of “friendly” aid that China has committed to the country, specifically billions of dollars in soft loans and outright grants, plus thousands of free firearms for the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as the Philippine National Police.
So off he goes this week to the Kremlin to presumably meet President Vladimir Putin, whom Duterte now calls “my friend” and whom he had previously expressed high admiration for.
By his words and by his actions, Mr. Duterte is hell bent on pivoting the country’s economic, social, and political ties to the two former communist superpowers at the expense of more traditional allies such as the US and Japan.
This may be his prerogative but for one thing. All surveys show that the majority of Filipinos still prefer to side with the US and still have a strong distrust for China.
And why shouldn’t they? China continues to encroach on Philippine territory and very recently threatened to wage war on the country – you know, it’s the one that Mr. Duterte is supposed to protect with his life -- if it tries to occupy any of the islets the Asian power claims to be theirs, but which are infinitely closer to the Philippine land mass than to China.
At least Russia hasn’t done anything that can even be remotely considered as a threat to the Philippines’ integrity.
Still, the question must be asked: Why Russia, of all countries?
There are no strong ties linking the Philippines and Russia, and the number of citizens of both states living and working in the other is minimal, at best, choosing Russia over such countries as Australia, New Zealand, and India, among others, must be considered as odd, to say the least.
By his own admission, Mr. Duterte admits that he is now addicted to the powerful drug Fentanyl, so this must be clouding his thinking. Maybe addicted is too strong a word, but what else can be said of his imbibing the drug on a daily basis, without which he says he cannot function normally?
A story is told about the late Indonesian strongman Sukarno, who once paid a visit to the former USSR (the former superpower centered around Mother Russia). In order to assure that the Indon leader would always toe the communist Russian line, he was gifted with a prostitute or two while there.
Russia’s use of sex as a tool to keep both its friends and enemies in check is widely known. So after his visit, Sukarno was reportedly informed that there were highly incriminating photos of him in the act. The veiled threat was that the photos would become public if he ever did anything that Russia disapproved of.
They did not realize that Bong Sukarno was a man made of sterner stuff. He called the Russian dare, even offering to show the photos over Indonesian television. The Russkies backed off, of course.
More recently, a stunning Russian spy was uncovered while working for their embassy in the US. The pretty woman did not deny that she was working for Russian intelligence, and had bedded some powerful US politicians.
When she was forced to go back home, she received a heroine’s welcome. Presumably, she is still working for Russian intelligence, but no longer as a spy.
At the very least, Mr. Duterte should be wary of the “gifts” he will receive while paying a visit to Mr. Putin, who he must be reminded was once head of the dreaded KGB.
The Philippine president is most welcome to receive aid, grants, weapons and whatever else Russia offers the country, but he must make sure that his admitted weakness for the ladies does not put him in a most precarious situation.
Incidentally, rumors were rife some months ago that US President Donald Trump is so enamored with Russia for the wrong reason. In a visit to the Kremlin not too long ago, he was reportedly given the same gift or tool that Russia likes to offer foreign leaders.
The rumor mill says that he and his host/hosts engaged in some bedroom games involving golden showers.
I don’t want to believe that this POTUS has ever done anything that smacks of perversion, but who knows? He remains attracted to Putin and Russia and only he can say why. But just to be on the safe side, maybe he should warn his Philippine counterpart?
Mr.Duterte’s attraction to China and Russia may just turn fatal for him one of these days.