President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to expel envoys from the European Union on October 12 after the Human Rights Watch and the delegation of the Progressive Alliance and the Party of European Socialists urged the Philippine government to stop the drug-related killings.
“Now, the ambassadors of those countries listening now. Tell me, because we can have the diplomatic channel cut tomorrow. You leave my country in 24 hours. All. All of you. You must have taken the Filipinos for granted,” Duterte said.
However, the EU mission clarified on October 12 too that they do not have links to the Progressive Alliance and the European Specialists.
“The recent visit of the delegation of the ‘International Delegates of the Progressive Alliance’ to the Philippines on 8-9 October was not a ‘European Union mission,’ as falsely reported by some media outlets,” EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen said in a statement.
“The statements made by the Progressive Alliance during its visit to the Philippines were made solely on behalf of the Progressive Alliance and do not represent the position of the European Union,” he added.
“The European Union was not part of the organization or planning of that visit – neither the Delegation of the European Union in the Philippines nor the European Union institutions in Brussels.”
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella later said that the President’s rant against the EU envoys was due to the statement from the European specialists.
The Progressive Alliance and Part of European Socialists did release a statement condemning the Philippine’s war on drugs.
“We were and after this mission we are even more alarmed at the mounting cases of killings under the so called “war on drugs” by Philippine’s President Duterte, the weakening of democratic institutions and the growing political persecution of opposition leaders as Senator da (sic) Lima last year and recently against Senator Risa Hontiveros from our Philippine sister party AKBAYAN. Senator Hontiveros is accused of the absurd case of kidnapping and the baseless case of wiretapping,” the group’s statement read.
“During our mission we have witnesses not a war on drugs. We have seen a war of the rich and powerful against the poor and the political opposition,” it added.
“This delegation’s irresponsible statements protesting the alleged killings under the Duterte Administration demean our status as a sovereign nation,” Abella said. “The call of the President for EU ambassadors to leave the country in 24 hours must be taken in this light.”
Even after learning that the EU was not connected with the European socialist group’s visit to the country, President Duterte said he did not do anything wrong when he hit the EU diplomats. He even put the blame on the EU Delegation’s ambassador for not warning about the socialists’ visit to the Philippines.
“You know what? Johnny-come-lately, here comes the ambassador of EU to the Philippines disclaiming na iyong mga tao pumunta dito, itong mga leftist sa ibang lugar [na] hinihila ng left dito,” Duterte said.
“Tapos kagabi, nakinig pala ang ambassadors, nag-text agad. ‘They are not part of the EU.’ Bakit hindi ka kaagad nagsabi? You kept your silence while they were yakking here,” he added. “Tama iyon. Tama iyong ginawa ko.”
But the EU did not make the statement about wanting to have the Philippines expelled from the UN. It was actually the New York-based HRW that gave the warning about the country’s possible expulsion from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), not even the UN, due to the cases of extrajudicial killings related to drugs.
Facebook user Bernard Ong wrapped the unfolding of these events in his post called “Dissecting Duterte’s Booboo,” from when Duterte ranted about EU to the clarifications from all the parties involved, while providing a background on what really happened. He once again slammed the government officials involved, concluding that the bottom-line of all these mistakes was the “failure by ragtag bastardized version of ‘best and brightest.’”
“Two days ago, Duterte threatened to cut off relations with EU countries over alleged EU plan to have PH expelled from UN. One day ago, EU ambassadors ignored Duterte’s 24 hour pack up and leave deadline,” Ong wrote.
“Up to now, Malacanang blames media [for misreporting daw], EU [for failing to clarify daw], and a group of foreign visitors [for misrepresenting themselves daw],” Ong said. “Easier to pass blame on everyone else – rather than admit incompetence and take responsibility for lying. Malacanang has not even issued a diplomatic apology to EU for its faux pas.”
He provided the background of the events, a summary of what happened between Duterte, the EU, and other parties involved.
“A. The director of an international organization – Human Rights Watch – warned that PH could be kicked out of UN Human Rights Council if it failed to uphold human rights and be open to independent investigations.
“Membership comes with responsibilities… There are provisions for a state to be suspended or expelled from the UN’s human rights body if they persistently violate human rights but it’s a very rare and extreme. But so many states underlined the fact that the Philippines is in violation of its membership obligations is a signal…”
Recall that the Philippines dismissed – either with ‘Noted’ or outright No – 154 of 257 recommendations from Universal Peer Review (UPR). In particular, it claimed ‘No EJKs’ and vowed to pursue its deadly Drug War.
A group called Philippine UPR Watch called for PH removal from UN Human Rights council. It engages the UN HR Council on PH human rights issues. It is composed of local entities like Karapatan, National Council of Churches in the Phils, Bayan, Desaparecidos, United Church of Christ in the Phils.
“Philippines has exhibited a total mockery of international human rights mechanisms, with the government’s blatant distortion of facts on extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in the country, its record of using the UN as a platform to justify its crimes against the Filipino people… We call on the UN to revoke the membership of Philippines at the UN HRC”
- Seven visitors from Progressive Alliance (including one German member of European Parliament) visited the Philippines Oct. 8 to 9. They were from Sweden, Germany, Italy, Australia and US. The last 2 countries are not members of EU.
The German parliamentarian Arne Lietz warned PH risks losing GSP+ [preferential duty-free export] privilege from EU if we persisted with EJKs and Drug War: “If the human rights standards are not upheld, then there may be consequences in the Philippines’ inclusion in the special trading instrument of the EU.”
But according to Ong, this was what really happened:
“1. Nobody called for PH expulsion from UN. Not EU. Not anyone else. Even North Korea remains a UN member.
- Someone called for PH expulsion from UN Human Rights Council. That would be local group Philippine UPR Watch – since PH is not keen on upholding human rights anyway. Local, not EU.
[Taxpayers should applaud this – fewer wasteful junkets for Cayetano and Mocha]
- The idea of PH expulsion from UN HR Council was discussed by HRW as a scenario – ‘could be kicked out’. HRW did not call for it.
- German Parliamentarian among 7-member visiting party warned that PH might lose its GSP+ trade privilege from EU.
[He is correct. Our GSP+ status is up for review in January 2018. GSP+ carries conditions of compliance with UN protocols on human rights – which PH signed & committed to when it sought GSP+ status]
- Duterte mixed up local group with foreign visitors, UNHRC and GSP+ with UN. Complex information is beyond his simplistic processor.
- Duterte forgot to include the ambassadors of US and Australia from his expulsion list
- DTI Sec Mon Lopez failed to tell Duterte that EU is our biggest export market and also the fastest growing major one. Bigger than US and Japan. Way bigger than China.
- Andanar failed to provide Duterte a comprehensive briefing like ABC above.
- Abella failed to admit his boss has limited capacity for dealing with complex information, got confused, went off script, and spread epic lies.
Lies plural – not just his false EU claim – but also claiming to reject $18-20m aid from UK [not true, no such money according to DFA] and claiming MILF is just ‘waiting for the word from Salamat’ [not true, Salamat died 14 years ago].
Cayetano failed to officially correct Duterte’s lies and issue an apology to ‘put@ng-inang’ EU.”
“So many failures from different fronts. Ultimately it is traceable to the appointing authority who put together this ragtag bastardization of ‘best and the brightest,’” Ong said.
“Truman popularized the dictum ‘The Buck Stops Here’. Stop blaming, take responsibility & fix problems. There is no Truman in our palace,” he concluded his post.
Sources: ( gmanetwork.com )