Inviting isolation

In his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. lectured the international community against interfering in Philippine domestic policy, particularly its war on illegal drugs. Yasay was obviously mouthing the spiel of President Rodrigo Duterte who lashed out at the UN and the US on the issue of human rights which has caused world concern on the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.

By the Philippine National Police’s own body count, the casualties have reached over 1,500. The number is growing. Law enforcers tell the same tale of suspects resisting arrest and firing guns at law enforcers. They are of course shot on the spot by police with the usual old .38 caliber pistols. Sachets of shabu are found beside their bodies. The methods and police accounts of why and how suspects are killed are always the same—fueling suspicion of summary executions.

Yasay, of course, is only doing the bidding of his boss on how to handle criticism of the administration’s relentless and take-no-prisoners anti-drug campaign. It will be a relief when newly appointed Philippine Ambassador to the UN Teddy Boy Locsin finally takes over the post. With Locsin in New York, we can expect a more rational and sensible statement of the country’s foreign policy. It may digress a bit from Duterte’s outbursts but it will be a more lucid, clear enunciation of the Philippine position on sensitive international issues. Failure to articulate our foreign policy and even defiance of world opinion would be inviting international isolation.

The Philippines is not a powerful nation that can stand alone like the United States, Great Britain, Russia and China. The country is interlocked with other countries in matters of trade and security. Right now, we need the help of allies in the territorial dispute in the South China Sea. Duterte has it all wrong by courting China and Russia. The president has made known he was going to buy weapons from China and Russia. Why China, which is encroaching into the West Philippine Sea? Russia and China are also human rights violators but nary a word from Duterte is heard—is it because the leaders of these countries don’t meddle in our domestic policy?

Our long-time and trusted allies like the US and Japan, the latter having a territorial row with China on the Senkaku/Diaoyo Island, will see the weapons purchase as a reckless and hostile act. There could be repercussions in matters of trade and security. Both the US and Japan have been providing the Philippines with ships and patrol boats to strengthen the country’s maritime border security. Already, the possibility of the Philippines losing $6.7 million as aid from the US for the country’s law enforcement if the two governments cannot agree on its mode of implementation. Read that to mean no extrajudicial killings of drug suspects. The funds were pledged by US Secretary of State John Kerry during his recent visit to Manila.

The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban leader Fidel Castro who are known for being anti-American never insulted or used profane words against the US. Using the China card against the US, UN and the EU for criticizing the human rights violation of extrajudicial killings, Duterte could be playing right into China’s hands.

After cursing Pope Francis, US President Barack Obama, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Duterte has now also questioned God for allowing young girls to be raped and killed by drug addicts which he said is the driving force in his war against illegal drugs, pushers and users.

He asked: “Where was God when all this was happening?” Nothing it seems is sacrosanct to this foul-mouthed man who relishes the impudence of his own remarks.

Duterte, in his latest profanity-laced latest remark against Senator Leila de Lima, said “she screwed her driver-bodyguard and now is screwing the nation by getting involved in narco-politics.” The Department of Justice is pressing charges against De Lima for allegedly receiving dirty money from convicted drug lords to finance her senatorial campaign.

De Lima shot back describing Duterte “the vilest, lowest kind who abused his presidential powers” to make her life miserable. She asked: “Baka may gusto ka sa akin ( Maybe you desire me?)” in an attempt to explain the President’s fixation with her.

It has gotten down to this—a gutter level exchange between the President of the Republic and a senator of the realm. The whole world must be laughing at us for this spectacle going on between two high-ranking elected public officials. It’s enough to make you cringe—or migrate to a more civilized country.

Topics: Alejandro del Rosario , Inviting isolation , United Nations General Assembly , Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. , Philippine domestic policy , illegal drugs , human rights , extrajudicial killings
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