Sotto: PH may opt to withdraw from UN rights council

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2019 08:56 PM

MANILA - Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Monday said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. might seek the withdrawal of the Philippines from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), after the UNHRC passed a resolution calling for a comprehensive review of the country's drug war.

Locsin earlier rejected the resolution, warning "there will be consequences."

Sotto said the Philippines might follow the United States, who withdrew from the UN rights council last year.

"[US] dismembered themselves from the UNHRC and the reason they gave is, that it is a hypocritical and self-serving group, and it's making a mockery of human rights... So I will not be surprised if Sec. Locsin will follow suit considering the way they (UNHRC) were, all of a sudden, handling the resolution from Iceland...," Sotto said.

The UNHRC voted to adopt the resolution filed by Iceland, among 18 countries that voted yes, including Peru and Uruguay.

A total of 14 countries voted no, including China.

According to Sotto, the UNHRC passed the resolution "illogically" because 30 (sic) countries disapproved of its adoption, including the countries who abstained from voting.

"What happened was 18 voted in favor, 15 (sic) against and 15 abstained. And therefore sa 48 (sic), 18 lang yung nag-approve. Thirty disapproved. Why? An abstention is a no. Everybody in the parliament knows that you did not agree," Sotto said.

(Editor's note: Fourteen countries voted no, and the total number of member-countries that participated in the voting was 47.)

"So it's illogical. I will not be surprised, and I will be supportive of any decision that Sec. Locsin will arrive at," he said,

The Senate president pointed out the Philippine even can save a lot of money if the country withdrew from the UNHRC.

"...Last year we paid the UN $8.2 million mandatory contribution. We will be saving the country P445 million a year if we detached ourselves from the UN," Sotto said.

President Rodrigo Duterte had criticized Iceland for endorsing the resolution, saying the Nordic island nation does not understand problems faced by Manila.

Vice President Leni Robredo, however, welcomed the resolution and said she herself would "entertain" the UN investigators in case they are able to pursue their mission.

-With reports from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News