UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says China will protect him and the Philippines.

During a speech in Casiguran, Aurora on Tuesday, May 15, Duterte said Chinese President Xi Jinping has given him assurances that he will not be kicked out of office, and China will not allow the Philippines to, “go to the dogs.”

On Wednesday, however, several senators reportedly questioned the meaning behind Duarte’s statement.

Senator Francis Pangilinan said in a statement that Duterte should not lean on China for support, in light of the South China Sea dispute.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, however, said the president was only expressing his sentiments and that he has support from his Asian neighbors.

Meanwhile, news sources say confidential conversations between the two world leaders cannot be verified.