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By Prince Golez

Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered all government agencies to reject loans and grants from 18 member-countries of the United Nations Human Rights Council that supported an investigation into the alleged human rights violations in the Philippines.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the admission Monday, a few days after he denied Duterte instructed the suspension of deals with countries that voted in favor of the Iceland resolution.

“A memo was issued by Executive Secretary (Salvador) Medialdea on the matter,” Panelo said in an interview on ANC’s Headstart.

The chief presidential legal counsel blamed Duterte’s “lapse of memory” for the gaffe.

“The question to me asked by the media was whether or not the President issued a memorandum with respect to 18 countries who voted in favor of the Iceland resolution. When I asked (the President), he said ‘No, I did not’. … He might have forgotten momentarily, so when I asked him again, he said, ‘Yes, I remember calling the Secretary about it,'” he added.

Panelo said the Chief Executive had told him that the resolution of Iceland was an insult to the Filipino people.

“This country (Philippines) is insulted by that kind of that Iceland resolution and we cannot allow this country who will be insulting us, a country who condemns allegedly our slaying of certain victims and yet it allows abortion of unborn children up to less than six months old,” Duterte was quoted as saying.

The Palace official maintained that the suspension of foreign aid will not have an impact the country’s economy.

Of the 18 countries that backed the Iceland resolution, Panelo said only the United Kingdom has an existing loan arrangement with the Philippines worth 21 million euros.

“There are other bilateral partners of us or other institutions that are offering the same grant, that’s according to Secretary Dominguez. Other grants that are being offered are more on technical assistance so it will not affect this, the infrastructure of the government,” he said.

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