EVEN as he moved to assert Philippine ownership over the Philippine Rise, President Rodrigo Duterte explained why he could not adopt a hard-line stance over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Duterte, in a speech Tuesday, May 15, on board BRP Davao del Sur to send off about 50 Filipino scientists who will explore the Philippine Rise, said Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged "not to allow" moves to oust him.
"The assurances of Xi Jinping was very encouraging. (Xi said), 'We will not allow you to be taken out from your office and we will not allow the Philippines to go to the dogs,'" Duterte said.
"Perhaps, because I am (a) freely elected leader, it could be a very justified statement," Duterte added.