Tuesday, November 20, 2018
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Palace, admin allies denounce IPU ‘meddling’

Malacañang and senators allied with the administration on Monday bristled at the “meddling” and “disrespect” shown by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians in calling on the Senate to investigate the political persecution of Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV.

Saying the rights parliamentarians “are not welcome here,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the IPU’s planned deployment of a mission to Manila was “an affront to the core of our state’s principles.”

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Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the chamber’s leadership had no plans to entertain requests by the Geneva, Switzerland-based IPU rights panel to discuss the situations of De Lima and Trillanes, two of the fiercest critics of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“They (IPU resolutions) are bordering on utter disrespect of our judicial processes, if my initial reading is accurate,” Sotto said.

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Said Panelo: “We consider such actions as interventions of our domestic affairs, for they do not only show the Philippines in a bad light … but worse, such one-sided evaluations infringe on our sovereignty.”

GMA urges pullout

Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said she would ask the Senate to withdraw from the IPU over the latter’s supposed interference in the country’s judicial system.

Arroyo made the comment just a few days after addressing the 139th IPU General Assembly.

De Lima has been detained on illegal drug charges since February 2017, while Trillanes is out on bail after Mr. Duterte revoked his amnesty in August in connection with his role in mutinees in 2003 and 2007.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the IPU should show respect for the country’s legislative and judicial processes.

“They better visit to see for themselves our judicial process, separation of powers between and among the three coequal branches of government, and they should know how to respect a sovereign state like ours,” he said.

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“Imagine their temerity and arrogance to ask our [Supreme Court] to grant De Lima ‘occasional legislative furlough’ and the Senate ‘to act in solidarity’ with her?” Lacson said.

Two resolutions

The IPU issued two resolutions at the end of its Geneva assembly last Oct. 18, expressing its concern over the alleged persecution of the two senators.

The IPU panel said it “remained disturbed at the public campaign of vilification by the highest state authorities” against De Lima.

The panel also expressed concern over Trillanes’ plight.

“[T]he sudden questioning of his amnesty give(s) serious weight to the allegation that this is a targeted attempt to silence [him],” it said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who joined Lacson and Sen. Ralph Recto in the Geneva assembly, urged his colleagues to meet with the IPU panel to help it fulfill its mission. —WITH A REPORT FROM MARLON RAMOS

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TAGS: Antonio Trillanes IV, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU, Leila de Lima, Panfilo Lacson, Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo, Vicente Sotto III
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