Bolting IPU: Palace backs Arroyo, senators split
Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has found an ally in Malacañang in her proposal for the Philippines to withdraw from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the IPU had prejudged the Dutere administration.
“Our position is no international human rights organization has jurisdiction over us,” Panelo said.
“They’ve been besmirching this country,” he said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
“This is precisely why I support the call of House Speaker Arroyo,” he said.
The Geneva-based IPU said it would send an official mission to investigate the alleged political persecution of Sen. Leila de Lima and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, the President’s most vocal critics.
Panelo criticized the IPU for claiming that the two senators’ rights were violated.
Malacañang had dismissed the IPU’s planned mission to the Philippines as a form of meddling, saying the IPU was not welcome here.
Concern for Arroyo
House Deputy Majority Leader Ron Salo also defended Arroyo’s proposal and assailed the IPU for its failure to show a similar concern for the rule of law when Arroyo “sufferred five years of detention and vilification” under former President Benigno Aquino III.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he was also “inclined to concur” with Arroyo, though he would consult colleagues first.
Contrary to the IPU’s assertion, the country’s judicial system is working, said Sotto.
But several senators nixed Arroyo’s proposal, saying it would be seen as an admission that lawmakers criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte were being persecuted.
“Arroyo’s proposal is despairing, defeatist and will be seen by the world as a tacit admission that, indeed, critical lawmakers are being persecuted,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said in a statement.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a member of the Senate majority, said Arroyo’s suggestion was based on the wrong premise because the IPU plenary had yet to act on the recommendation of its Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros described Arroyo’s proposal as “a fake assertion of sovereignty.”