Senate President Vicente Sotto III (

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday upped the ante against the international community, raising the idea of leaving the United Nations to save on costly annual dues.

Sotto echoed Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo’s support for Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, who said last week that the Philippines should withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) after it approved a resolution calling for a full report on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

“[He might want to leave the whole thing], the United Nations [itself]. It’s up to the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) because last year we paid the UN $8.2 million mandatory contribution. We will be saving the country P445 million a year if we detached ourselves from the UN,” Sotto told reporters.

Sotto said leaving the rights council won’t necessarily impact on the country’s standing in the international community, citing the United States, which left the body last year over its supposed bias against Israel.

“Did they say that against the United States? They left the UNHRC,” Sotto said.

“As a matter of fact it might give them a chance to review and take a hard look at the mirror, the UNHRC. Take it from what the United States said, they are making a mockery of human rights,” he added.

Sotto said he believed last week’s council vote in Geneva was invalid, as the resolution introduced by Iceland won by a narrow margin in the 47-member council.

“What happened was 18 voted in favor, 15 against and 15 abstained…Thirty disapproved. Why? An abstention is a no. Everybody in the parliament knows that – you did not agree,” he explained. (The correct result of the voting is 18 in favor, 14 against, and 15 abstain. – Ed.) (