Cayetano slams Robredo for remarks on Kuwait row: There should be no 'double standard'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 6) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano slammed Vice President Leni Robredo's remark on the diplomatic row between the Philippines and Kuwait, challenging her for saying the government violated Kuwait's sovereignty by staging unauthorized rescue missions.

"Hindi ba 'yung mga foreigner na nagra-rally dito, vina-violate 'yung sovereignty natin kasi bawal 'yun. Bakit sabi nila, puwede? Tapos tayo 'pag magre-rescue, pipintasan nila sarili nilang gobiyerno na breaking sovereignty," Cayetano charged in a press briefing Saturday. "Hindi puwedeng may double standard (There should be no double standard)."

[Translation: When foreigners rally here, they violate our sovereignty. Why are they allowed to do so? But when we rescue Filipinos, they criticize our government for breaking sovereignty.]

Cayetano was referring to Australian nun Patricia Fox, who was ordered to leave the Philippines by the end of May for engaging in political activities.

Robredo released a statement on Friday, saying the viral video showing Philippine embassy officials on a rescue mission in Kuwait could jeopardize the jobs of 260,000 Filipino workers in the Gulf state.

The video had prompted Kuwait to declare Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa persona non grata and expel him.  It also arrested four Filipino drivers and issued warrants of arrest against Filipino diplomats who participated in the rescue effort.

The Vice President said the easing of diplomacy between the Philippines and Kuwait "must start with an honest and candid acknowledgment of the crisis, a willingness to accept accountability and a conviction to do what is right."

Cayetano, however, said the Philippine government is already accepting accountability for the incident.

"I'd like to assure Vice President Robredo that we are accountable: we're accountable to the President, we're accountable to the people, we're accountable to God," he said.

Cayetano also slammed Robredo for sending a video message to the United Nations in March 2017, where she criticized the country's war against drugs.

"'Pag tayo may nag-video...pero bakit siya, si Vice President Leni, nagpadala ng video sa UN na fake news na paninira sa sariling bansa?" he said.

[Translation: Why are they criticizing us for our videos...Why is it okay for Vice President Leni to send a video to the UN which is fake news and sabotaging our country?]

Cayetano then called on the opposition to follow "worldwide protocol" by letting diplomatic negotiations between two countries to finish first before criticizing, and to be fair in their criticisms.