CA defers confirmation of Philippines' envoy to UN

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2019 10:16 PM

Rodolfo Dia Robles during his confirmation hearing on Sept. 25, 2019. Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Commission on Appointments on Wednesday deferred the confirmation of Rodolfo Dia Robles as the Philippines’ permanent representative to the United Nations.

Robles was the only one among the 54 foreign affairs officials who failed to hurdle the body.

During the CA foreign affairs’ committee hearing on Wednesday, minority Sen. Francis Pangilinan asked Robles what the government was doing in the face of China’s incursion in the West Philippine Sea.

Robles responded: “I think what the government is doing, is doing it within its proper resources. We are actually trying to strengthen our military capability… But at the moment, we are actually not able to do anything except (raise) protests one after other saying this is an illegal act of China but at the same time, I'm not aware of what we really can do effectively to stop China from doing these.”

Pangilinan also raised with Robles President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to suspend loan and foreign aid from countries which sponsored or backed a UN inquiry into the Philippine war on drugs.

“Are you hoping [for] extensions to the policy or the suspension? Are you willing to bring this matter up to the President and say perhaps a better approach could be to do this on a case-to-case basis?” Pangilinan said.

Robles said the suspension of negotiations will not affect the country’s relationship with security partners such as Australia. He also said he is willing to take a second look at the matter and raise it to the President if need be.
 
Robles’ confirmation was put on hold after Sen. Risa Hontiveros called for a caucus to discuss his confirmation.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the CA foreign affairs panel, said the senators were not satisfied with Robles’ response.

“He disappointed the members of the foreign affairs committee with his responses to some basic questions thrown at him during the confirmation hearing this morning,” Lacson said.

With Congress set to go on a break starting Oct. 4 and no schedule for another hearing yet, the president would have to reappoint Robles as his nomination would be considered bypassed.