Robredo: Fate of 22 fishermen more important than criticisms, Locsin’s tirades
MANILA, Philippines — The fate of 22 fishermen involved in the Recto Bank incident is more important than the tirades of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Vice President Leni Robredo said Tuesday.
“Mas maraming importanteng bagay na kailangang asikasuhin. Iyong pinaka-issue dito, iyong mga mangingisda, na na-violate iyong kanilang mga karapatan (There are more important issues here, especially the fishermen whose rights were violated),” Robredo told reporters in Naga City.
“Ano iyong ginagawa natin para ma-repair iyong pag-violate sa kanilang karapatan? Tingin ko iyon iyong pinaka-issue dito (What are we doing to repair what has been violated. I think that is the most important issue),” she added.
The Vice President was referring to the incident last June 9 when 22 Filipino fishermen were left at sea after a Chinese vessel collided with their boat which eventually sunk. The seafarers were eventually rescued by a Vietnamese ship.
Robredo also admitted that she had read Locsin’s tweet, which referred to her as “boba” or stupid by the country’s top diplomat for voicing concerns against the plan to revoke all diplomatic passports.
“Nabasa ko iyong tweet late last night kasi ang daming tumatawag. Sa akin naman, ever since hindi ako pumatol kapag usapang bastusan. Sa akin, hindi naman ako nababawasan noon. Alam ng tao kung ano ang tama at ano iyong mali, kaya hindi ko na iyon papatulan,” she explained.
(I read the tweet last night because a lot of people called. I refuse to dwell on that issue. I did not lose anything. I know that the people know what is right and wrong, so I don’t want to focus on that.)
Locsin apologized afterward in a separate tweet.
According to Robredo, she does not see it as a personal attack, although she would like officials to stick to the law, particularly Republic Act 8239 or the Philippine Passport Act.
“Iyong sa akin lang, sana kung ano iyong obligasyon, gawin. Kung ano iyong responsibilidad, gawin. Kung ano iyong nasa batas, sundin (For me, let’s do our obligation, our responsibilities, and let’s follow the law),” she said.
Locsin’s plan to cancel all diplomatic passports was hatched after former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario was denied entry to Hong Kong last Friday even if he was holding a diplomatic passport. Del Rosario’s camp believes that he was blocked due to the steps he took against the Chinese occupation of the West Philippine Sea. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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