Del Rosario denies talk he’s quitting DFA
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario on Tuesday denied speculation that he was resigning following revelations that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, working as a backdoor negotiator for President Aquino, was harming initiatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to resolve tensions with China.
“As secretary of foreign affairs, I have sworn to faithfully serve our country. I remain true to that commitment,” Del Rosario said in a terse statement issued from the United States, where he was to attend the UN General Assembly, and released during a Malacañang news briefing.
In an exclusive report last week, the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Del Rosario as complaining that Trillanes was damaging the DFA’s efforts to ease tensions with China over disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea. That same day, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile confronted Trillanes and accused him of working for Chinese interests.
Del Rosario and the DFA have refused to comment on the verbal tussle between Enrile and Trillanes. Del Rosario told reporters last week that he was under “gag orders” from Malacañang.
Purportedly on Del Rosario’s recommendation, the President dispatched Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas last week to meet with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in Nanning, China, and reiterate the Philippine claim of sovereignty over the shoal.
In the Malacañang briefing Tuesday, Roxas said Trillanes’ backdoor negotiations were not taken up in his meeting with China’s leader-in-waiting on Friday.
“That has nothing to do with our talk,” he said.
Asked about Mr. Aquino’s statement on Friday that Trillanes remained the backdoor negotiator, Roxas said:
“I think the President is entitled to use such channels as he deems necessary—front, back, side, window—in order to further Philippine national interest. And he is also entitled to employ parallel processes. He is entitled to employ or to balance out which messages or which procedures he deems best necessary. His mandate is to further and protect Philippine interest.”
However, statements of support from DFA officials were issued Tuesday for Del Rosario.
The Philippine Embassy in Washington, where Del Rosario was previously posted, cited the “principled leadership” of the DFA chief amid challenging times.
Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. said that Del Rosario had tirelessly led the DFA “in making the honorable and oftentimes arduous stand to defend our national security and territorial sovereignty” based on the President’s policy guidelines.
“In his dealings with various governments, Secretary Del Rosario has demonstrated a single-minded determination to uphold the Philippine national interest at all costs. This includes taking great personal risk to go to the front lines in conflict areas abroad to lead our people to safety. He is a true patriot,” Cuisia said.
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