Palace: Poll results won't affect Philippine-US relations

MANILA (Updated) -- The Philippine government vowed to keep a healthy relationship with the United States whoever prevails in the US presidential elections.

"Whatever the result will be, in as far as who will win—whether it's the incumbent President (Barack) Obama or Governor (Mitt) Romney—if you look at the history of American and Philippine relations, it is safe to assume that whoever wins, whether it be Republican or Democrat, we will continue the relationship and we will continue to work with them," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

In a text message, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ricky Carandang said, "The Aquino administration has good relations with Republicans and Democrats and is ready to work closely with whoever is the choice of the American people."

"We would expect that the current thrust of US-Philippine defense cooperation would remain essentially unchanged regardless of whether Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney wins the election," he said.

Surveys show a neck-and-neck battle for the White House on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) as candidates travelled to battleground states Ohio and New Hampshire over the weekend in a last-ditch attempt to convince voters.

Obama, whose term marked the country's slow recovery from financial crisis, has been painted by Romney as a man who failed short of his promises to turn around the economy. The Democrat president, on the other hand, blasted Romney for his lack of experience in foreign policy and scaring voters that US jobs will be continuously outsourced.

Unlike in the Philippines, American presidential candidates have to amass electoral votes (determined through state population and representation in Congress) in state-by-state contests. It takes 270 of the 538 electoral votes at stake to win the presidency.

Meantime, the US Embassy will hold a mock election, live updates of election returns, election trivia, a free photo booth, and election-related information through interaction points on Wednesday.

Dubbed "US Election Watch 2012," the event at SM North Edsa in Quezon City set from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is open to the public and free of charge. Embassy representatives will also answer questions about elections and democracy in the US.

"The United States and the Philippines proudly share the values of participatory democracy and the right to choose our own leaders," said US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. "Regardless of who wins, I look forward to celebrating this democratic tradition with Filipinos and Americans alike." (Jill Beltran/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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