EU denies links to parliamentarians' group that prompted Duterte tirade


Posted at Oct 12 2017 08:07 PM | Updated as of Oct 12 2017 10:05 PM

MANILA - The European Union on Thursday again denied involvement in the recent visit of international parliamentarians to the country after President Rodrigo Duterte criticized the bloc anew over the group's criticism of his war on drugs. 

An incensed Duterte on Thursday blasted the EU over criticism of his drug war, daring its envoys to leave the country in 24 hours. 

This after a 7-member delegation of parliamentarians, which included Europeans, called for a halt on drug-related killings and warned of trade repercussions while on a two-day visit in Manila.

In a statement, the EU Delegation in Manila denied involvement in the visit. 

"The European Union was not part of the organization or planning of that visit - neither the Delegation of the European Union in the Philippines nor the European Union institutions in Brussels," the EU office in Manila said.

"The statements made by the Progressive Alliance during its visit to the Philippines were made solely on behalf of the Progressive Alliance and do not represent the position of the European Union."

It reiterated its commitment to work with the Philippines through a "close partnership."

"The Delegation continues to operate and function normally and is committed to working constructively and productively with the Philippines for the benefit of the population," the EU said.

Those who joined the Progressive Alliance's Manila visit on Oct. 8 and 9 were its members from Sweden, Germany, Italy, Australia and the US. It included a German member of the European Parliament. 

In a statement Thursday evening, Malacañang said Duterte's challenge for EU envoys to leave was in response to the Progressive Alliance's remarks while in Manila.

"The President's expression of outrage is in reaction to statements by a 7-member delegation of the International Delegates of the Progressive Alliance which has falsely portrayed itself as an EU mission," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

Abella also blasted the delegation's criticism of the government's drug war, saying it "demeans" the Philippines' status as a sovereign nation.

"The call of the President for EU ambassadors to leave the country in 24 hours must be taken in this light. For so long has our President tolerated these undue interferences in our domestic affairs, and he has decided that these must stop if only to preserve the integrity and dignity of our State as a sovereign nation," he said.

Former Senate President Edgardo Angara, Manila's special envoy to the EU, had earlier clarified that the group of parliamentarians that came from Manila does not represent the EU parliament's governing majority. 

"None of the gloomy predictions the 7-member delegation said in Manila was ever suggested at all in Brussels. And the MEP (Members of the Parliament) among the 7-member delegation do not represent the governing majority in the EU Parliament," he said.