Robredo, Pangilinan gain support of 47 former Filipino diplomats

Former ambassadors, who served under different administrations, have come together to endorse Vice President Leni Robredo and her running mate, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan in their respective bids in the May 9 elections.

Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan (VPLR Media Bureau)

Forty-seven former ambassadors declared their support to Robredo and Pangilinan, citing the tandem's clear foreign policy that protects the country’s national interests, especially in the West Philippine Sea.

Among those who signed the statement of endorsement were former Ambassadors and Foreign Affairs Secretaries Albert del Rosario and Delia Albert, former Labor Secretary and Ambassador Jose S. Brillantes, former Ambassador to China Sonia Brady, former Ambassadors Victoria Bataclan, Estrella Berenguel, Eduardo Maglaya, Claro Cristobal, Laura del Rosario, Cecilia Rebong, and Millie Thomeczek.

“On the West Philippine Sea, we must veer away from a Foreign Policy of fear and appeasement, and instead, pursue a Foreign Policy that strongly but peacefully asserts our sovereign rights under international law,” the ambassadors said.

“The protection of our national interest should always remain the guiding post of our foreign policy and of all the candidates running for President,” they said.

The former diplomats noted that only Robredo has presented “a clear platform or governance,” adding that they also “particularly believe in her position on the West Philippine Sea.”

They see in a Robredo presidency an adherence “to the principle of the rule of law, respect for the territorial integrity of States, compliance with treaty obligations, non-interference in internal affairs and the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law through diplomacy and negotiation.”

The ambassadors also agreed with Robredo's stand on the victory of the Philippines in the arbitration case against China in 2016, believing that the country should lead in building international support for the ruling.

They said the Philippines, led by Robredo as President, “can raise the international awareness of the Award to a higher level of appreciation of its significance for all nations.”

The former ambassadors said that a Robredo presidency can bring the Philippines “to a status where our regional neighbors respect our sovereign rights over the maritime domain.”

A number of the ambassadors, who signed the statement, were among the Cabinet members, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chiefs of Staff, and senior government officials from the administration of the late President Benigno Aquino III who declared their support for Robredo in February.