Locsin contradicts Panelo on cutting ties with Iceland

MANILA, Philippines – Despite Malacañang claiming it was "seriously considering" it, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin Jr said the Philippines will not be cutting diplomatic ties with Iceland after it led a UN resolution to probe killings in the Philippines' drug war.

"I never considered for a second cutting any ties over this small matter," Locsin tweeted on Tuesday, July 16.

Locsin contradicted Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo who said that President Rodrigo Duterte was "seriously considering" severing ties with Iceland. (READ: Duterte mulls cutting Iceland ties over U.N. probe – Panelo)

Malacañang said the resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council was an insult to Filipinos and that it was "designed to embarrass the Philippines before the international community and the global audience." (READ: PH won't provide drug war docs if UNHRC report 'just fishing expedition')

After its adoption by the UNHRC, Locsin questioned the validity of the vote, saying the 18 who backed the resolution do not represent a simple majority of the 47 UNHCR member-countries. The foreign secretary likewise threatened Iceland and those who voted for the resolution of "far-reaching consequences."

Not quitting: Locsin also said the Philippines would remain in the UN rights body despite the adoption of the resolution as he viewed the vote as a "small and harmless" matter.

"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 asked.

The top diplomat earlier blasted the resolution against drug war killings in the Philippine as being pushed "with the arrogance that developing countries must not stand up" to Western countries "even if we can and as we hereby do."

Locsin said that despite the outcome of the vote at the UN rights council, discussions on acquiring defense assets would continue. He urged Philippine defense and security officials to continue "sales talks" even with countries that supported and co-sponsored the resolution.

Out of 47 member countries, 18 voted to adopt the resolution, 14 voted against, and 15 abstained. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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