Palace: No directive to expel EU envoys from PH
AMalacañang official clarified on Friday that there are no plans to kick out of the country the European ambassadors following the threat made by President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the President incorrectly based his threat to expel European ambassadors within 24 hours only on news reports.
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.
“You think we are a bunch of morons here. You are the one. 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,” Duterte said.
Abella issued a statement on Thursday night confirming the eviction threat but on Friday 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.”
After Duterte issued the threat, the EU delegation to the Philippines clarified the visitors were not a European Union mission. Abella agreed on Friday that was the case.
Nevertheless, the visiting European lawmakers did not raise the prospect of the Philippines being kicked out of the United Nations, according to their official statement and various reports in the major local media outlets.
Abella did not explain how Duterte made that assumption that they wanted the Philippines excluded from the UN.
Asked if the Philippine government had formally clarified Duterte’s comments with the European missions in Manila, Abella said: “I suppose all venues will be exhausted regarding that matter.”
A press officer of the EU delegation to the Philippines told AFP on Friday no official explanation has been conveyed to it by the Duterte government.
Duterte won elections last year after vowing to eradicate the illegal drug trade in six months, and vowing that 100,000 people would be killed in the process.
Police have since reported killing 3,850 people in anti-drug operations while thousands of others have been murdered in unexplained circumstances. THE House of Representatives is set to deliberate on the articles of impeachment to be filed against Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista on Wednesday, Oct. 18.
Justice committee chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali told reporters in a phone interview that before proceedings are initiated in the Senate in November, his panel may have to shore up the case first to ensure an airtight case against Bautista.
He said the may even have “to subpoena some people and or some documents so that we will have them ready before we start with the impeachment trial in Senate.”
The justice committee, on Sept. 20, dismissed it for insufficiency in form due to a flawed verification form. But the House plenary on Oct. 11, voted 137-75-2 to override the committee’s recommendation and directed it to prepare the articles of im- peachment to be transmitted to the Senate.
Albay First District Rep. Edcel Lagman on Thursday said the committee should have at least been allowed to thresh out the substance of the complaint first.
Lawmakers in favor of Bautista’s impeachment said he may be bluffing when he announced his plan to resign “by the end of the year” on the morning of Oct. 11. This led them to conclude he should be impeached to avoid giving him a year’s reprieve from subsequent i m p e a c h m e n t a ttempts./