Duterte with­draws threat to evict EU en­voys

The Star Malaysia - - World -

MANILA: Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte in­cor­rectly based his threat to ex­pel Euro­pean am­bas­sadors within 24 hours on news re­ports, and there are no plans to kick them out, his spokesman said.

Duterte threat­ened in a fiery speech on Thurs­day to quickly send Euro­pean en­voys home as he ac­cused their gov­ern­ments, with­out cit­ing ev­i­dence, of plot­ting to have Manila “ex­cluded” from the UN.

Duterte’s spokesman, Ernesto Abella, is­sued a state­ment on Thurs­day night con­firm­ing the evic­tion threat but yes­ter­day told re­porters there had been no or­ders to send them home.

“There is no di­rec­tive to do that,” Abella told re­porters when asked if Euro­pean am­bas­sadors should leave.

Abella said the pres­i­den­tial out­burst was trig­gered by me­dia re­ports about a small group of Euro­pean law­mak­ers and aides who came to Manila and held a press con­fer­ence on Mon­day con­demn­ing the Philip­pines’ deadly drug war.

“Ba­si­cally he (Duterte) was re­act­ing to what he was read­ing,” Abella said, adding later that the pres­i­dent was “as­sum­ing” the re­ports were cor­rect.

“So ba­si­cally it’s a les­son for us also for the need for crit­i­cal re­port­ing and read­ing of the news. So the pres­i­dent re­acted as any leader would when na­tional sovereignty is vi­o­lated.

“So we call upon also for the me­dia to heed his re­quest for cor­rect re­port­ing.” — AFP

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