Palace: No di­rec­tive to ex­pel EU en­voys from PH

Cebu Daily News - - ISLANDS - /AFP IN­QUIRER.NET

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./

ABELLA

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