Palace memo a ‘political statement,’ won’t affect bilateral ties – Panelo
MANILA, Philippines — A Palace memorandum suspending negotiations of loans and grants from nations that supported a thorough investigation on the Philippines’ human rights situation is a “political statement.”
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo emphasized this Tuesday even as he assured that the Philippines’ relations with the 18 countries that backed the Iceland-led UN Human Rights Council resolution would not be affected despite the confidential memorandum dates August 27, 2019.
“That’s a political statement, it is a political statement, you don’t mess with this country with this kind of resolution,” Panelo said in a press briefing when asked why the President decided to cancel such loans and grant agreements from the 18 nations.
The missive signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea – on the instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte – directed all departments and government agencies “to suspend negotiations for and signing of all loan and grant agreements with the governments of the countries that co-sponsored and/or voted in favor” of the Iceland-initiated resolution.
“Walang epekto (No effect). Kasi ‘yun namang relasyon natin (Because our relations) … it’s not confined to loans, ‘di ba (right)?,” he said when asked about the likely effect of the memo on the Philippines’ bilateral ties with Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Uruguay.
“Pareho rin ‘yun nung away natin (It’s the same with our row) with China , hindi lang naman dun sa conflict natin (it’s not just about our conflict), marami pang areas na pwede nating pag-usapan (there are other areas where we can talk),” he added. “Maraming (There are many) areas in a relationship between two countries, marami ‘yang kino-consider (a lot to be considered), hindi lamang isang (not just one) aspect. So, kung magka-problema kayo sa isang (if there would be problem on one) issue, it doesn’t mean lahat ng issue magkaka-problema kayo (that all issues would have a problem).”
Panelo then hit Iceland’s “hypocrisy” for initiating the resolution that called for a comprehensive report the human rights situation of the Philippines, including Duterte’s bloody war against illegal drugs.
“’Yung reaction ni President (The President’s reaction is) consistent with his saying na (that), ‘As far as I’m concerned, this is an insult to us.’ They assume that we’re not doing anything about their complaints, we’ve been doing that,” the Palace official pointed out.
“Iceland as well as those who supported it must realize the fact that they are supporting a resolution coming from a country questioning the kind governance of this country relative to the war on drugs and yet this country sponsor is allowing murders, killing of unborn children,” he added.
“Kumbaga, what hypocrisy,” he further said.