Cayetano thanks Duterte, bares plans for DFA

Phnom Penh, Cambodia —Senator Alan Peter Cayteano thanked President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on his nomination as the next Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary as the former disclosed his plans for the Department in a press conference held Wednesday evening, May 10, at the Himawari Hotel Apartment in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.

“…(L)ubusan kaming nagpapasalamat sa Panginoon and prayer namin mag-asawa talaga ay si Pangulo ang gamitin kung saan ako makakatulong sa kanyang administrasyon sa bansa,” the incoming DFA Secretary said.

Senator Cayetano clarified that he still needed to go through the Commission on Appointments, and that both houses of Congress are still in session.

“So until that time, I’ll still be serving in the Senate,” Cayetano underscored.

Cayetano downplayed his role as a staunch defender of the President in the Senate citing the President is in good hands with the present Senate.

“So ang trabaho ko magsalita. So it just so happened that I’m one of the public faces… kaya nabibigyan tayo ng credit,” Cayetano pointed out.

Cayetano currently chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and is part of the delegation in numerous presidential foreign visits.

In the same press conference, Cayetano revealed his expectations on his new assignment.

“The DFA from the Secretary down to the most humble employee will not have their own agenda or their own foreign policy but we’ll all work hard together to implement the foreign policy of the Philippines, led by the President, especially ‘yung paulit-ulit sinasabi ng Pangulo na hindi sapat ‘yung welfare and protection ng ating OFWs, kailangan ‘yung comfort and convenience din nila,” he said.

Cayetano then cited the relevance of the Philippines under the Duterte administration where DFA plays an important part. 

“We have the best people in the DFA but suddenly we’re relevant around the world.  Suddenly, the Philippines, hindi siya isang speck na napakaliit lang na player sa world affairs. ‘Di ba suddenly, tumatawag si President Trump, tumatawag si President Xi Jinping, may imbistasyon sa Kremlin.  So the new bridges, the new friends that the President established and then how do we repair kung meron mang problema sa old allies natin… So ‘yun ang magiging mission ng mga taga-DFA ‘no, to follow the policy of the President, but to keep building bridges,” he emphasized.

In this regard, Cayetano wanted to institutionalize briefings in the DFA.

Human Rights Situation

Cayetano likewise mentioned his recent diplomatic mission in Geneva, Switzerland, where he presented the other less known story in the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“So I’m not saying that we convince them that it’s not so. But we open their eyes and mind and heart that there’s two sides to the story,” Cayetano said. 

He further said that he is willing to face the consequences once proven that his presentation about extrajudicial killings in Geneva is wrong.

“I’m willing to resign, to be jailed, to be exiled if mali ‘yung prinesent (present) ko or at the very least if I intentionally misled anyone.  Lahat ng prinesent (present) ko is based on fact, based on actual numbers.  So remember, dati pa sinasabi na maraming extrajudicial killings.  ‘Nong 2012 pa lang, pinuna na ng — the same countries na pumuna sa atin, pinuna nila ang Aquino government for extrajudicial killings,” Cayetano explained citing Administrative Order 35 signed by former President Aquino 

Administrative Order No 35 created the inter-agency committee on extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations.  The operational guidelines of the EO, signed by then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in her capacity as IAC Chair,  defines extrajudicial killings (EJKs).

Relations with China

Meanwhile, he also talked about China stressing the importance of peace and stability in the region.

“Kung meron kang peace and stability sa region, everyone nakikinabang.  Nakikinabang Japan, nakikinabang China, nakikinabang US, Canada, tayo .  Pag walang peace and stability, ibig sabihin ‘yung tension sa West Philippine Sea ay magulo masyado,” Cayetano elaborated.

In addition, he reiterated the President’s remarks to raise the arbitral ruling in the proper time.

“Give him the option kung kailan niya ilalabas, kailan niya gagamitin. And we will follow the President, “ Cayetano concluded.###Content & Messaging