PH rep to UNHRC did not consult gov’t on vote to probe Israel over Gaza abuses – Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine representative to United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) did not consult the home government about the country’s vote favoring a probe of Israel’s alleged rights violations in Gaza.
President Rodrigo Duterte said this in a hurried discussion with some of his key allies after a ceremony at Malacañang Palace reenacting the signing of some key bills from Congress.
In a video of the event, Duterte was seen calling Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and other allies, including his former aide, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go to talk about the issue.
After being informed that outgoing Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz would be making a farewell call shortly, Duterte, who was at the podium, addressed Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea as he approached him, saying in Filipino: “Bong [Medialdea’s nickname], let’s fix this first. What’s with our vote at the UN? Was it withdrawn? The one about Israel.”
“I said to withdraw. According to… who knows about this?” Duterte asked as Medialdea gestured towards someone. “What was that ruckus about?”
And then Duterte said, as Go came forward: “No, our representative voted without consulting the home government.”
Then Duterte’s microphone was cut off, with Go appearing to ask if the audio had already already been silenced.
Last May 31, Israel summoned the Philippine ambassador in the Middle Eastern country after the Philippines voted in favor of a probe into the alleged abuses committed by Israeli troops in their encounter with Palestinian forces in Gaza.
The UNHRC then decided to start a probe.
Israel then slammed UNHRC, calling it an “anti-Israel institution” that did not take into account its claim that Hamas terrorists were responsible for the attacks against Israel.
The Philippines was among the 24 UNHRC members that voted in favor of the resolution calling for greater scrutiny of the abuses and their “root causes” in the decades-long Middle East conflict.
According to Philippine Ambassador to Israel Macairog Alberto, who also confirmed that embassy officials met with the Israeli government regarding the matter, the country is maintaining good ties with Israel despite the vote.
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