De Lima calls for ‘insightful reading’ of IPU resolutions about her, Trillanes cases

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed dismay over her colleagues’ reactions to the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) call for them to act on the continued persecution against her and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

De Lima said her fellow senators, notably, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Panfilo Lacson, should be more receptive – instead of dismissive — to the findings and recommendations of the IPU on the political persecution of one of their colleagues.

“Rather than criticize and disrespect this international organization of legislators, Senators Sotto and Lacson might do better to at least do an insightful reading of the IPU reports in order to understand where the IPU is coming from,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 402.

“After all, members of the IPU, like Senators Sotto and Lacson, are legislators in their respective countries who have certainly earned the right not to be treated with condescension by their Philippine counterparts,” she added.

In separate resolutions adopted at the end of the 139th IPU Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland last Oct. 18, the IPU expressed deep concerns over the human rights violations committed against De Lima and Trillanes.

Aside from stating that it has resolved to send an official mission to the Philippines to inquire into the political persecution of De Lima and Trillanes, the IPU also urged the Senate to take a firm stand on the Senators’ cases.

In response to the call, Sotto criticized the IPU, calling as arrogant its request in the cases of De Lima and Trillanes.

“I’m just wondering, how on earth can they (IPU members) think they can meddle with a member-country’s judicial process?” Sotto asked.

Lacson, on his part, insisted that the IPU should not meddle on the cases of De Lima and Trillanes, reasoning that the Philippines has its own legislative and judicial processes.

Before criticizing the IPU, De Lima said her Senate colleagues should be reminded that IPU is not made up of “unreasonable individuals” who will deliberately pick on small countries like the Philippines.

“The IPU’s Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians has gone through the length to look into my, and now Sen. Trillanes’s, situation. They did not just blindly come out with their findings and recommendations,” she said.

“If only Senators Sotto and Lacson would open their petrified minds to what the members of the IPU have to say, maybe they can learn a thing or two about international collegiality and respectful interaction with their counterparts in the world,” she added.

The Senator from Bicol, meanwhile, said she is not surprised with House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s position, which she describes as “patently unwise”, to withdraw the Philippine Congress’ membership from the IPU.

“Arroyo’s personal vendetta against me for her detention on electoral sabotage and plunder charges is not yet over, and is not about to end soon,” she said.

De Lima said she knows that Arroyo, a known ally of Mr. Duterte, will go the extra mile to undermine any international effort in support of her plight as the first prominent political prisoner of the President.

Both De Lima and Trillanes are two of the most vocal critics of the administration’s bloody war on drugs, causing them to be the favorite target of Duterte’s political persecution.

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