Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. revealed on Tuesday that the Philippines will remain in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) even after the Council voted to adopt a resolution seeking to review the results of the Philippine government’s war against illegal drugs.
Locsin, in a social media post, said that the UNHRC vote was “a small and harmless matter” and that the Philippines will not be severing relations with any country.
“We’re staying in UNHRC as a pedagogical duty to teach Europeans moral manners. We’re NOT severing diplomatic relations with any country. If we did, where’s the conversation? How do you insult those who insulted us if you cut them off?” Locsin tweeted.
The DFA Secretary earlier hinted that the Philippines might withdraw the UN rights body following the vote.
Malacañang also said on Tuesday President Rodrigo Duterte is considering the country’s severing of ties with Iceland, which sponsored the resolution submitted to the UNHRC.
“(The President) mentioned last (Monday) night that he is seriously considering cutting diplomatic ties with Iceland,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“There are only about 2,000 Filipinos in Iceland, as far as we know. There are no trade relations between our countries, except fish,” Panelo added.
“No embassy in Iceland. Nor does Iceland have an embassy here. Iceland took the place of the US after it withdrew from the Human Rights Council. I think we need to follow America more,” said Locsin in a previous post.
Panelo said he supports the cutting of diplomatic ties with Iceland after it called for the UN investigation on the administration’s anti-narcotics campaign.
“Yes, because if a country expresses a position that would violate our sovereignty, we should sever our relationship with them,” said Panelo.
He added the Philippines should take a serious look at its relationship with other countries that supported the Iceland-initiated resolution.
“As Secretary Locsin said, that is a consideration on the table,” Panelo said.
The UNHRC on Thursday approved the resolution, with 18 countries supporting it, 14 in opposition and 15 abstaining.
Meantime, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto also on Tuesday backed Locsin’s pronouncement that the Philippines would remain in a United Nations body that sought information on the government’s anti-narcotics drive.
“If he says we stay, we stay!” Sotto said in a tweet.
Locsin, meanwhile, thanked the Senate President, saying the latter was “the only one who has ever had my back all the time since as far back as I can remember.”
“I go through life with just one friend. Okay, I’m not exactly a people person but neither am I cold and unfriendly, right?” said Locsin.
Manila says police have killed 6,600 drug suspects who resisted arrest, rejecting the estimates of rights groups who claim the crackdown — that remains popular with many Filipinos — has left more than 20,000 dead.
President Duterte is facing cases before the International Criminal Court for alleged mass murders and human rights violations under the drug war, his signature initiative launched in 2016. He has withdrawn the country from the treaty that created the ICC.