Duterte in 'wonderment' on Iceland's push for PH human rights check

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 16 2019 03:19 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is still wondering as to why Iceland is pushing for an investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Duterte, who is mulling on cutting diplomatic ties with the European country, thinks that maybe local or foreign activists are supposedly feeding Iceland with the wrong information about the war on drugs, his spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

 “Well according to him, he can’t even understand why Iceland is making that posturing,” Panelo told reporters during a Palace press briefing.

 “Until now, he is in wonderment why Iceland is doing that. He can only speculate… or the 2 of us can only speculate that maybe some activists either from this country or elsewhere are feeding Iceland with the wrong information. And Iceland naman is so naïve to accept everything that it hears or receives,” he said.

Panelo also explained that if the Philippines does push through with severing diplomatic ties with Iceland, effects would “certainly” be minimal.

“Yes, certainly (the effects are minimal). Not only that, we’ve been having trade relations with other countries so I don’t think cutting a relationship with one country would affect us,” he said.

Iceland earned President Duterte’s ire after it endorsed a resolution that called for a report on Manila’s human rights situation, including extrajudicial killings under his drug war.

The United Nations Human Rights Council last week adopted the said resolution but it was immediately rejected by the Philippines.

In a speech last Friday, Duterte criticized Iceland, saying it doesn’t understand the Philippines’ problems. He also accused its people of “eating ice.” 

“Anong problema ng Iceland? Ice lang (What is the problem of Iceland? It’s just ice). That's your problem, you have too much ice, and there is no clear day or night there... You can understand no crime, there is no policeman either and they just go about eating ice,” he said.

 “Itong mga g*go, you don’t understand the social, economic, political problems of the Philippines,” he said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr on Tuesday meanwhile assured the international community that the Philippines will stay in the UNHRC even after it voted to adopt the Iceland-backed resolution.