Statement of Rep. Harry L. Roque on the cancellation of the bilateral talks of Presidents Obama and Duterte

US President Barack Obama & Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (photo from GMA Network)

I stand behind and admire President Duterte’s espousal for an independent foreign policy. I am concerned, however, that the President’s undiplomatic language may unnecessarily cause diplomatic wrinkles, much like the cancellation of his bilateral talks with President Obama. An independent foreign policy need not result in the disturbance of friendly relations with our traditional allies. To achieve this, tact, not firebrand rhetoric, is key.

Moreover, an independent foreign policy still makes all countries and their leaders accountable to established human rights conventions and institutions. Being asked about extralegal killings must be welcomed if we are to take the path of stopping the environment of impunity now prevailing.

Whatever the case may be, human rights is always an issue that concerns the international community.

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