Locsin, PH top diplomat, minces no words at UN General Assembly

Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Sep 29 2019 12:38 PM | Updated as of Sep 29 2019 11:36 PM

UNITED NATIONS, United States - (UPDATE) The Philippines' top diplomat minced no words in his speech at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly's high-level open debate on Saturday.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the international body should not interfere in the Philippines' affairs when it comes to how it is handling the South China Sea dispute and its anti-narcotics campaign.

"All democracies are pretentions to some degrees and that the growing electoral trend toward strong governments does not change its democratic character," he said.

"Weak governments, unable to protect their people, appear desirable because they make the case for multilateral intervention at the prompting of conscience of course, but sometimes at the unilateral prompting of great powers or violent or civil non-state actors."
Meanwhile, with the office of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' recent endorsement to free Sen. Leila de Lima from detention and a growing number of US lawmakers calling for her release as well, Locsin said the senator cannot be acquitted by the request of US Congress.

"The problem with that is that she is facing charges, then it has to go to trial. The idea of a someone who’s charged to be acquitted without a trial just because of a senatorial petition, I think that’s’ a violation itself of the rule of law," he said.

Locsin also made it clear to the international body that the UN was not free to interfere with the state in what he describes as “its function of protecting its citizens and stamping out threats, such as Philippine’s war on drugs."

"The Filipino people has already taken as their own the war on drugs. They can cry about it, they can complain about it but they’re talking to themselves, all the critics. The Filipino people own the drug war," he said.

When it comes to the code of conduct in the disputed South China Sea, Locsin said it was still under negotiation with Beijing.

Locsin told the international body that the Philippines would renew its commitment to the ideals of the United Nations, which was to end the scourge of war, uphold justice and human rights, and to maintain peace and amity among the member-states.