Sotto supports DFA’s recall of diplomats in Canada

Published May 16, 2019, 9:24 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Hannah Torregoza

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Thursday expressed his support to the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) move to recall the Philippine ambassador to Canada after it failed to meet the May 15 deadline on shipping back its garbage.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III (Eugene Loriz Malasig / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Sen. Tito Sotto (Eugene Loriz Malasig)

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said that what triggered the envoy’s recall was the fact that no Canadian official showed up at a supposed meeting with Customs officials.

Sotto said he supports Locsin’s decision: “If that was the case, then he has every right to do so. Parang binastos tayo (they were rude to us). Parang ayaw harapin itong problema,” he said in a Kapihan sa Senado forum.

“So I will support the decision of the DFA,” Sotto said.

Asked if such a move would affect its diplomatic relationship with Canada and jeopardize the welfare of Filipinos living in Canada, the Senate leader said he believes the DFA has studied the possible implications of recalling the ambassador.

“They must have their reasons and if they have we should also look into it and investigate,” Sotto said.

“First of all who imported those garbage? To whom was it sent, who was the recipient? We haven’t been tackling that issue regarding the company who is supposed to be the recipient of that garbage,” he pointed out.

Sotto was referring to Chronic Plastics Inc. which has a business address in Valenzuela.

“I think the DFA knows something that we haven’t been made aware of. If that’s the case, I think he (Locsin) has every right to do so,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier expressed his frustration at Canada for refusing to retrieve the garbage-filled containers illegally shipped from Canada to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014. Of the 103 garbage-filled, 69 containers still remain in the country.

Locsin in his Twitter account said the purpose of the recall is to “maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship bound there.”