MANILA—Newly-appointed Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday said he will continue to defend Pres. Rodrigo Duterte from his critics as chief diplomat.
Cayetano, however, said that he will take into consideration his conversion from politician to diplomat and be using a “more diplomatic language” when speaking, especially to the international community.
“…The conversion from politician to diplomat or from public servant in general to statesman, has to be there,” Cayetano told reporters in an interview after his confirmation.
“Because as chief diplomat, kailangan ko rin isaalang-alang yung departamento at yung relationships natin sa ibang bansa. So, in other words, I will be using a more diplomatic language (I need to consider the department and the relationships we have with other countries),” he added.
He explained that as chief diplomat, it is still his responsibility to “explain what’s happening in the country” and “explain the vision of the President (Rodrigo Duterte).”
“I will continue to speak for the President, I will continue to speak pag inutusan ng President (if ordered by the President, I will continue to speak kung sa tingin ko necessary (if I think it is necessary) but not in the political manner, that was available to me when I was in the Senate,” he added.
Cayetano was recently in Geneva, Switzerland to lead a 16-member Philippine delegation tasked to attend the Universal Periodic Review on human rights where the states present their human rights records to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
He said that he has also started approaching human rights advocates and work with them in addressing human rights violations they could agreed on.
“I’ve started approaching human rights advocates here to tell them na parang West Philippine Sea, dun sa talagang hindi tayo mag-agree hiwalay na muna natin yan. Pero dun sa area sa human rights na kaya natin trabahuhin to better our human rights record, gawin natin,” Cayetano said.
(“I’ve started approaching human rights advocates here to tell them that it’s like the West Philippine Sea, where we don’t agree on, let’s separate that. But on those areas in human rights that we can work on to better our human rights record, we’ll do that.”)
The newly-appointed Foreign Affairs Secretary reiterated that killings linked to the Duterte administration’s aggressive campaign against illegal drugs are not state-sponsored and are currently undergoing investigation.
“When we say protect Filipinos, protect human rights,” Cayetano said.