The online news site Rappler listed the number of times Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano made contradicting statements in 2017 alone. They also compared how Cayetano was somehow similar to former Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, who was rejected by the Commission on Appointments for lying about his US citizenship. Rappler said that just like how Yasay flip-flopped on some major issues, such as how it was revealed that he never pitched Hague ruling to be cited in the ASEAN statement, contradictory to what he claimed he did.
Here are issues over which Cayetano had his flip-flop moments in 2017, as compiled by Rappler:
- On describing the 3,800 drug war deaths
Cayetano contradicted PNP’s position on the death of 3,800 people in the drug war. He told Al Jazeera in his October 6 interview that all those 3,800 people killed in the war against drugs were drug dealers.
However, the Philippine National Police said that these people were only considered as suspects, not confirmed drug dealers. They are saying that these people were shot and died for allegedly resisting arrest.
- On EU aid
On October 25, the former senator said that “everyone can help” and that the Philippines will accept that help provided “there are no conditionalities” attached to it.
But a few days before, on October 19, Cayetano said that the Philippines would reject all EU grants, as per President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive. He even added that he would relay Duterte’s decision to the EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen.
- On UK’s monetary offer
While DFA released a statement on October 13 refuting Duterte’s claim that UK offered monetary aid, clarifying that there was “no new offer,” Cayetano said on October 19 that he was “still checking” whether UK really offered $18 to $20 million to the country, an offer that Duterte refused to accept.
- On comparing the Philippines to Singapore in terms of safety
Cayetano backtracked on his earlier statement comparing the Philippines to Singapore where the level of safety is concerned. On September 8, he said the country is “far from being Singapore or Japan” in terms of public safety. He also denied saying that the Philippines is becoming safer, just like Singapore, blaming his critics for misquoting him.
However, a clip of his privilege speech in September 2016 showed that he said the following: “It’s not perfect. In fact the President very candidly said he needs another 6 months, but let us be honest with ourselves, it is happening. The Philippines is becoming more like Singapore in terms of being able to walk the streets at any time at night.”
- On number of drug users
Cayetano raised the estimated number of drug users, citing them to be around 4 to 7 million. However, President Duterte himself only mentioned as many as 4 million drug dependents, a figure that is widely disputed. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s estimate pegged the drug users in the Philippines to be around 4.7 million.
- On China’s threat of war
In May, Cayetano downplayed Duterte’s claims that China threatened the Philippines with war over the issue of the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, saying that what China said “wasn’t a threat” or a warning.
This contradicted Duterte’s statements quoting Chinese President Xi Jinping: “Well, we are friends. We do not want to quarrel with you. We would want to maintain the present warm relationship. But if you force the issue, we will go to war.”
Sources: ( rappler.com )