Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay clarified on Monday, August 22, that the Philippines will not leave the United Nations.
“We are committed to the UN despite numerous frustrations with this international agency. But we are certainly not leaving the UN,” Yasay told the media in a press conference.
This statement came after President Rodrigo Duterte lambasted the intergovernmental agency, threatening to withdraw the Philippines’ membership to the UN.
Yasay defended Duterte, saying that the President was merely expressing his disappointment over calls from UN’s special rapporteurs to stop the extrajudicial killings in the country.
Last week, UN’s special rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard, said that Duterte promising immunity and bounties to law enforcers who killed suspected drug personalities is against international law.
“The President is understandably extremely disappointed and frustrated with this action of the special rapporteurs in arbitrarily concluding that these drug-related killings were done by or are at the instance of law enforcers. But I can assure you that he remains committed to the United Nations, of which the Philippines is one of the founding members,” Yasay said.
“The president was tired, disappointed, hungry when he made the statement. We must give him leeway. He is also human,” he added.
Yasay also said that the UN experts issued statements based only on media reports. “We do not discredit media reports but these rapporteurs are mandated to make proper inquiries and there are protocols to conduct such probe.”
He said that Duterte has made a stand against extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.
“The President has already made assurance that he will respect human rights and firmly stand against illegal or criminal killing of people on drug-related activities,” Yasay said.
The foreign affairs chief added that the UN experts are welcome to conduct the probe on the issue of extrajudicial killings, “but what’s the use when they have given conclusions that are unverified,” the Inquirer reported.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella also made a statement seconding what Yasay said about the Philippines not leaving the UN.
“We are not decoupling. It was a matter of record, it was a statement. [President Duterte] was just basically stating the fact that the Philippines is a sovereign nation and should not be meddled with,” said Abella during a press briefing in Malacañang Palace on Monday.