Duterte: I will not sit idly by if Filipinos in Iceland are harmed

Published July 17, 2019, 10:52 AM

by Gabriela Baron & Minka Klaudia Tiangco

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte on Wednesday said he would not allow sit idly by if Filipinos in Iceland are affected negatively by his tiff with the Nordic country.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech after issuing the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company Inc. (Mislatel) during a ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on July 8, 2019. (ALFRED FRIAS / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech after issuing the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company Inc. (Mislatel) during a ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on July 8, 2019. (ALFRED FRIAS / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The President made the statement days after Malacañang confirmed that Duterte is seriously considering cutting the Philippines’ 20-year diplomatic ties with Iceland after the latter initiated the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution to look into the country’s drug war.

In an interview with Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, Duterte admitted cutting ties with Iceland may affect the conditions of Filipinos there.

“I learned that there about 2,000 workers in Iceland. So sabi ko, I’m seriously considering because it might affect the relations between our citizens and the host country,” he said early Wednesday.

“They might not like the way we behave towards them and so they will be prompted to take measures. I hope they do not have to do it because I won’t take it sitting down,” he added.

This week, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that the Philippines will not cut diplomatic ties with the UNHRC or any other country.

“Teddyboy Locsin says, ‘No, we’re not cutting.’ Ako naman I’m seriously considering (Secretary Locsin says we’re not going to cut ties but I’m seriously considering it),” the President said.

“He’s the spokesman but the Office of the President is the sole entity that includes the Foreign Affairs kasi mga cabinet members naman ‘yan sila, eh (because they are all Cabinet members),” he added.

“In our dealings with other nations, it is only the Office of the President of a country who has that prerogative. Siya lang. Ako lang (It’s only the president, and that would be me),” he continued.

Duterte then reiterated that Iceland has no problems with criminality because of how the day works in their country. The President, however, said that he will only respond to Iceland if they know the problem that the Philippines is facing. However, he said he will only answer to Philippine courts.
“As far as their streets, it’s safe because wala silang full night na darkness (their night is not total darkness). They have taken a special interest in… Wait until the drug menace reaches their shores. And that would be the time that I will answer it,” he said.
“They want me again about 67 members, they want — ask to file a case against the… Look, as I have told you before ladies and gentlemen of the world,  will only face a — be tried or face a trial in a Philippine court presided by a Philippine — Filipino judge, prosecuted by a Filipino,” he added.

On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said that Iceland’s push for a human rights probe on the Philippines left Duterte in a state of “wonderment.”

“Well according to him, he can’t even understand why Iceland is making that posturing. He has been—that Iceland has been doing that I think twice. Last year ganoon din ang posisyon niya eh and the other year (It was the same position last year and the other year),” Panelo said.

“Until now, he is in wonderment why Iceland is doing that. He can only speculate… or the two of us can only speculate that maybe some activists either from this country or elsewhere are feeding Iceland with the wrong information. And Iceland naman is so naïve to accept everything that it hears or receives,” he added.

The UNHRC recently approved Iceland’s resolution to look into the human rights situation in the Philippines under Duterte’s drug war. Seventeen other countries backed Iceland’s resolution.

Panelo insisted that the Iceland-led resolution was based on false information and unverified facts and figures and ‘only assaults the sovereignty of this country.” He also said that it reeks of politicization and is only out to embarrass the Philippines.

 
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