Ex-ambassador Cuisia says most Fil-Ams likely supported Hillary
Former Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia on Wednesday said most Filipino-Americans likely supported Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over her Republican opponent Donald Trump in this year's US elections.
In an interview on News To Go, Cuisia noted that majority of Filipino-Americans voted for Democratic candidates in the 2008 and 2012 US elections, comprising a part of the 72 percent of Asian-Americans who voted for the party in those elections.
"And this year my prediction is that the Filipino-Americans will also vote for Hillary Clinton," he said.
Cuisia believes Trump's position on immigration may have alienated many Filipino-Americans due to the high number of undocumented Filipinos in the US.
"As you know, maraming Filipino [ang] undocumented, anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000. Whereas Hillary Clinton has a pathway for legal residence of undocumented aliens, so mas advantageous sa mga immigrants, katulad ng undocumented Filipinos," Cuisia said.
Filipino-Americans, Cuisia said, may also vote for Clinton because of her hand in policies between the US and Asian countries such as the Philippines, and also because of Trump's opposition to free trade
"Hillary Clinton was instrumental in the rebalancing through Asia policy of the Obama administration. Hillary Clinton also gives a lot of importance to Asia because she recognizes the potential, in terms of the trade, between the U.S. and Asia," he said.
On the other hand, "[Trump] doesn't like this free trade agreement like the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and so on," Cuisia added.
Cusia also believes the Filipino-American vote is crucial for either candidates because of their neck-and-neck numbers.
Whoever wins the election, Cuisia said, will still court the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte despite the latter's anti-US leanings though he thinks Clinton may make greater efforts to negotiate with the Philippine president.
"Saka kilala na niya ang Pilipinas. She's a lot more familiar with the Philippines than Trump is and she sees the potential of a stronger alliance between the Philippines and the United States," he said.
"Of course, merong mga sama ng loob si President Duterte sa mga Amerikano but I think, eventually, that can be smoothened over. But the US will need to make an effort to assure him that they are treating us with respect, that they recognize our sovereignty," Cusia added.
Clinton won the state of California, where 1.4 million Filipinos reside, in the most recent results, based on reports. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News