US Defense Sec. Gates Warns: No To NO-EL
American Defense Secretary Robert Gates was in Manila for head to head talks with his opposite number, Secretary Gilbert Teodro.
It was a significant meeting to be sure, with Gates voicing out Washington DC’s “satisfaction over the defense cooperation between the two allies and the manner their bilateral Visiting Forces Agreement is being implemented in so far as addressing security concerns.”
Mr. Gates though did not expound when asked how whether the VFA should be reviewed.
Asked about fears of the 2010 elections failing, the US Defense Secretary had a more directed response:
We assume that the elections will go forward and that the Philippines will choose a democratically elected president. I do hope we will not have to address any extra-constitutional change in government.
Mr. Gates’ remark about the 2010 elections also must be counted as a clear signal to dissuade adventurists thinking of subverting the elections or forcing their cancellation.
It’s unfortunate that President Arroyo herself is away in South Korea during the whistle stop visit to Manila of the highest ranking member of the Barack Obama administration so far.
Coincidental as it may be, the unintended result is Secretary Gates pressed flesh with one of the Filipino presidential wannabees even though Secretary Teodoro is still court his boss’s anointment.
Business Mirror’s Rene Acosta, president of the Defense Press Corps told this writer Gates’s visit was on the personal invitation of his Filipino counterpart.
A source told me “Mr. Gates’ readiness to meet Teodoro “is a quiet endorsement.”
The Teodoro-Gates meeting cannot but boost Gibo’s stock.