Rodrigo Duterte is Machiavellian and believes in a fundamental principle in foreign policy: mind your business and stay out of mine. The dirty war against drug lords is not very popular in the West, but Duterte doesn’t care. If the West is judging him and punish The Philippines, he doesn’t have any problem to bond with Beijing, even if the Philippines’ army doesn’t agree.
Lucio Pitlo is not speaking about some general disagreement between the Philippines and the West. During the siege of Marawi, the West didn’t sell weapons and ammunition to Manila over human rights concerns in the drug war. Duterte didn’t have any problems asking weaponry to China and Russia, which diligently fulfill Duterte’s demands.
When you have ISIS-backed Islamists attacking a city of your country, who can blame Duterte’s decision to be pragmatic and ask two unusual partners for help?