Duterte to assess Lorenzana’s take on memo vs UN probe backers
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will evaluate the recommendation of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on a memorandum suspending the loans and grant agreements from countries backing a thorough review into the human rights situation in the country.
Lorenzana earlier said he is looking into asking the President to exempt his agency from the memorandum order, which he noted may affect the Philippine military’s modernization program.
“The President is a very reasonable man. If it involves national security, he might. I do not know yet. We have to wait for his thoughts on the matter,” Panelo told reporters in a Palace briefing on Tuesday.
“Let’s just say that we’ll wait for him (Duterte) to evaluate whatever recommendation the Secretary of National Defense will provide him,” he added.
The missive signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea – on the instruction of 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.
The resolution was adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last July after it garnered 18 affirmative votes from the member states of the body; 14 voted no while 15 states abstained.
The resolution called for a comprehensive report on the Philippines’ human rights situation, including the Duterte administration’s brutal war on drugs.
Australia, one of the countries that voted in favor of the resolution, is the Philippines’ most important security partner.
The Philippines has also either bought or is eyeing to procure defense supplies from other countries that supported the resolution like the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and the Czech Republic.
Other nations that voted in favor of the Iceland-led resolution were Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Fiji, Iceland, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Uruguay. /kga
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