Duterte withdraws threat to evict EU envoys
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