Palace defends Duterte: He's 'more visionary', 'transformational'

MANILA, Philippines – Reacting to comments by former president Fidel V. Ramos (FVR), Malacañang on Saturday, February 11, said President Rodrigo Duterte's leadership style was "transformational" and "more visionary."

The former president said during an interview on Rappler Talk Thursday, February 9, he was concerned that Duterte appeared to be making important decisions that affect policy and security issues without first consulting his Cabinet.

"The way it is, there is a lack of consultation, as I said in the beginning, not just with his active commanders. Maybe not even with the Cabinet members concerned, but also with the rest of the citizenry," Ramos said.

On Saturday, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella told state-run radio dzRB in an interview that Duterte listens to his Cabinet secretaries.

"However, his process is slightly different. But that doesn't mean he's not consulting. He's really listening, that I can say...from opinions," Abella said in a mix of Filipino and English.

He also said Duterte and Ramos have different working styles. 

"FVR's approach is more managerial and more corporate," Abella said. In contrast, Abella said, Duterte "is what you would call a transformational leader...who can do something out of nothing."

Fearful or visionary?

Ramos, on Thursday, also made reference to the environment Duterte grew up in, and said, "A lot of these fears being generated by him is because he is afraid of fear, or he is... insecure."

In response, Abella said President Duterte "is more visionary. It doesn't mean that [his style] is insecure. His approach, it's clear to me, is that he's a leader who listens."

At the end of the day, Abella said Duterte himself "is the one who takes action. It doesn't mean that he's not listening, but he himself makes the decisions."

Ramos was among those who persuaded Duterte to run for president in 2016. Since then, he has given unsolicited advice to Duterte, saying he has been through the presidency. "With all due respect to those concerned, it's not Facebook stuff. It's the real McCoy because I've been through it and I've done it," he said.

In the Rappler interview, Ramos – who was also former chief of staff and defense secretary before he became president – discussed law enforcement and foreign policy under Duterte. – Rappler.com