MANILA, Philippines – Former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario urged President Rodrigo Duterte to listen to Filipinos, not China's ambassador, as the Duterte administration "should cast aside their fear of displeasing China."
"With the tribunal ruling, ladies and gentlemen, we need to respectfully call on the President to finally do what is necessary to defend what we are fully entitled to under international law," Del Rosario said at the book launch of Marites Dañguilan Vitug's Rock Solid on Tuesday, July 24.
"We need to listen, not to the Chinese ambassador, but to our people. We need to embrace, not China, but our own country," Del Rosario said.
"The President and his men should cast aside their fear of displeasing China," he added.
The book launch was attended by other VIPs such as Vice President Leni Robredo, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.
"Let us applaud and congratulate our good friend, Marites Vitug, who has provided a great public service by writing this book," Del Rosario said in his speech.
"As our government continues to sit on their hands, this book could serve as a chilling reminder to our government of China's persistent attacks on our sovereignty," he added.
At the launch of Rock Solid, Carpio criticized the Duterte administration's stance toward the Hague ruling.
"I never expected that our own defense secretary will call our victory an empty victory," Carpio said. "I never expected that our own President will announce publicly that he is setting aside the ruling."
Robredo said that "the encroachment of a rising global superpower...is no small threat to our people's way of life." Filipinos, she said, "must stand together." – Rappler.com