Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Friday said statements made by presidential spokesman Harry Roque do not reflect the country’s foreign policy.
“I told him to go ahead. I enjoy his spirited responses. What he says isn’t foreign policy,” Locsin said.
Roque earlier declared he would not stop speaking on matters of international law even after the country’s top diplomat called him out for his comments on the Julian Felipe Reef.
“When he (Roque) makes a mistake he will know on Twitter. But his take on history is interesting though history never ripens into right,” Locsin said.
“What history can do is try to cover up wrong with the sands of time but the people wronged can keep brushing away the sand to show the wrong. Time cannot make wrong right even if the people wronged are enslaved or exterminated by the wrongdoer. But wrong is still not right. It is just history. The history of wrong,” Locsin added.
Roque earlier said critics were only making a big deal out of the Chinese presence near Julian Felipe Reef, saying the area had “never” been in the possession of the Philippines. The Palace official also claimed the reef is not within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
But the Department of Foreign Affairs maintained its position that the Julian Felipe Reef is part of the country’s EEZ in the West Philippine Sea.
In previous statements, the DFA said the Julian Felipe Reef is about 175 nautical miles west of Bataraza, Palawan, and is well within the 200-nautical mile EEZ rule according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Roque’s pronouncements prompted Locsin to unleash a series of tweets apparently rebuking Roque, asserting that DFA “has exclusive remit” on Philippine foreign relations.
Locsin also exhorted Roque to “drop the subject” and leave the matter to the DFA.