Palace sees no reason for Cayetano to quit DFA

Malacañang on Thursday, May 3 said there is no reason for Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to resign despite the diplomatic row between the Philippines and Kuwait.

“Every Cabinet member, unless they are fired, enjoys the trust and confidence of the President,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said in a statement. 

In the press briefing, Roque refused to respond to the calls for Cayetano’s resignation, saying that it is entirely up to the secretary to answer concerns about his leadership.

“That call is addressed to Secretary Cayetano. He should address it. As far as the Palace is concerned, there is no reason for him to resign,” he said.

The Palace official also expressed the belief that the row with Kuwait will soon be resolved.

“I think what we have in Kuwait is something that can be overcome eventually… sooner or later,” he said. 

On Wednesday, Cayetano said he is willing to step down from his post if President Rodrigo Duterte asks him to. 

“If the president tells me to go, I will go happily and I will continue to support him. If a majority in the DFA says ‘we cannot follow you’, I have no business being there,” Cayetano told reporters at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

As the secretary of foreign affairs, it has been his duty to implement the independent foreign policy of the country, build bridges with other nations and take care of Filipinos abroad. If he couldn’t fulfill his duties, he has no reason to stay in the post, he said. 

“But so far, I’ve had meetings with them, they understand. They might not agree with our decisions, but they understand. So the calls are normal, it’s politics but I think kayo na mag-judge whether this last year we stepped up or we’ve slacked off in taking care of the concerns of our OFWs,” he said.

The foreign secretary is responding to Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) career diplomats who are supposedly calling for his resignation alongside his appointees for gross incompetence and poor handling of the rescue mission that led to the expulsion of Ambassador Renato Villa and the diplomatic standoff with Kuwait. 

In a separate statement, the DFA labeled the news articles claiming that career diplomats, who were not identified, were demanding Cayetano’s resignation because of his handling of the Kuwait situation as “malicious.” 

It also dismissed claims about the letter calling for Cayetano and his appointees’ resignation being sent to the Malacañang Palace, noting that the Office of the President has not seen such letter.

“The alleged clamor by career officials for the Secretary to resign as contained in the supposed letter came from some who do not represent the views of the entire career Foreign Service Corps,” the DFA said.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]

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