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Sotto slams Trudeau: Frank on human rights issue, but not on Canada’s garbage?

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Thursday criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for bringing up the issues of human rights and extrajudicial killings (EJKs) when the latter met with President Rodrigo Duterte, calling it an attempt to “camouflage” the garbage dumping topic.

“Tingin ko camouflage. Ang tingin ko, diversionary tactic ‘yun para ‘wag mapag-usapan, at wag ma-highlight yung basurang tinapon nila sa’tin dito, na ayaw nila bawiin, na ayaw nilang tanggapin,” Sotto said in an interview with reporters.

“Frank sa human rights, sa basura hindi sila frank, ganun ba?” the senator added.

Sotto was referring to the garbage dumped by Canadian companies in the Philippines back in 2013. Trudeau has said that it is “theoretically possible” to take back the trash but their government has yet to determine who should shoulder the cost as the problem concerned private firms. 

Sotto also pointed out how leaders from superpowers US and China, as well as European Council President Donald Tusk, did not talk to Duterte about the human rights issues in the Philippines.

“Dahil kanya-kanyang problema ng bansa yun eh. Bakit siya makikialam bigla? Pakialaman niya yung basura niya,” Sotto said.

“Baka naman pumapasok sa kanya yung rockstar na dating niya dito sa Pilipinas kaya naisip niya yan,” he added.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Trudeau told the local and foreign press covering the 31st ASEAN Summit that he had an opportunity to raise the issues of human rights and EJKs with Duterte.

Trudeau said he “mentioned human rights, rule of law, and specifically, extrajudicial killings as being an issue Canada is concerned with.” He said Canada has already earned a reputation for being “frank.”

The Canadian prime minister claimed Duterte was “receptive” of his comments during the “cordial and positive exchange.”

Duterte, however, said he considers Trudeau’s questions on the human rights issues in the Philippines as a “personal and official insult.”

Senator Cynthia Villar, for her part, said Trudeau’s remarks on the garbage issue was just a “gimmick.”

“Ibalik na, bayaran na lang nila, marami pang gimmick gimmick, yaman-yaman nila. Kunin na lang nila pabalik...Liit liit na bagay eh hindi pa niya kinomit (commit),” Villar said. — RSJ, GMA News