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Cuisia, other Phl diplomats back DFA chief

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Cuisia Jr. yesterday led Filipino diplomats in throwing their full support behind Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

The expression of support was given amid reports that Del Rosario is planning to resign because he was demoralized by the back-channeling undertaken without his knowledge by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV with China, with the consent of President Aquino, over the West Philippine Sea dispute.

Cuisia, along with the officers and personnel of the Philippine embassy in Washington, issued a manifesto of support for Del Rosario, calling him a “true patriot” at this critical time in Philippine international relations.

“We stand behind the secretary’s principled defense of the security of our country and his untiring efforts to promote a better life for Filipinos,” the signed statement declared.

Cuisia said Del Rosario has tirelessly led the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in making the stand to defend Philippine security and territorial sovereignty based on the policy of the President.

“I firmly support the principled leadership exhibited by our secretary and his stewardship as he orchestrated the government’s diplomatic efforts through the most challenging circumstances,” he said.

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“In his dealings with various governments, Secretary Del Rosario has demonstrated a single-minded determination to uphold the Philippine national interest at all costs. This includes taking great personal risk to go to the frontlines in conflict areas abroad to lead our people to safety,” the ambassador stressed.

Meanwhile, two US-based groups also threw their support behind the DFA chief.

“Del Rosario has been a dedicated, hardworking and unselfish servant of the people,” said Rene Meily, president of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce of New York.

“As foreign secretary, he has been a passionate advocate of the Philippines and a defender of the interests of President Aquino and the Filipino people. He has not hesitated to travel to the war-torn areas of Libya and Syria or to the great halls of Beijing and paneled offices of New York and London to protect Filipino overseas workers and when necessary, to bring them safely home,” Meily added.

The US Pinoys for Good Governance chaired by Loida Nicolas Lewis, in a letter to Aquino, expressed alarm that Del Rosario would even think of quitting the DFA.

“The President would be ill-advised if he would allow this rumor to continue. It means China has won this battle over Scarborough Shoal,” she added.

Not quitting

Malacañang said yesterday that Del Rosario has decided to stay with the Aquino government.

“As secretary of foreign affairs, I have sworn to faithfully serve our country. I remain true to that commitment,”Del Rosario said in a text message to The STAR from the United States, where he is to attend the 67th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

He was welcomed by Cuisia and DFA Assistant Secretary for American Affairs Carlos Sorreta upon his arrival in Washington.

Del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima will speak before the Philippine Conference organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) today. – With Delon Porcalla

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