Dispatch from Crame No. 273: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s statement on Senate President Pimentel’s charge of ignorance against the IPU


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Contrary to what Senate President Koko Pimentel and Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo believe, the Inter-Parliamentary Union is not ignorant of our Constitution and our legal system. Pimentel and Panelo are the ones who are ignorant of the IPU process in its investigation of cases of oppression and persecution of legislators by their own governments the world over.

The IPU has taken considerable steps in ascertaining the facts and circumstances behind my incarceration, including the events that led to it. SP Pimentel, for one, should know about this as he has directly dealt with IPU officials and representatives with regard to my case. He even attended the IPU Assembly in St. Petersburg where the international organization adopted its Human Rights Committee report and recommendations on my case.

It is therefore extremely condescending for SP Pimentel to treat his colleagues in the IPU as ignoramuses in the law. They are, after all, lawmakers themselves, who are perfectly capable of understanding the difference between the black-letter law, on one hand, and the political reality of its perversion in the hands of a tyrant, like Duterte, and his minions.

Indeed, quite the contrary, the IPU has a full grasp of our Constitution and justice system for them to know how they should work in theory, and for them to be aware when they are bastardized in reality. This is what the IPU has been telling SP Pimentel all along. The reality of my persecution does not conform to the substance of our Constitution and our laws.

The IPU believes, based on its own extensive fact-finding efforts, that the Philippine justice system has been used for the vindictive purpose of silencing me, a member of the opposition and a leading critic of the administration in power. SP Pimentel cannot see IPU’s point on this because he no longer cares about the workings of democracy, and the importance of a genuine opposition in governments the world over. His party, after all, like their idol the Communist Party of China, is already after absolute power. Today, for Duterte. Tomorrow, for his successor from within the party.

Unlike SP Pimentel’s indifference, the IPU consciously raises the alarm on the persecution of opposition lawmakers. They believe that the opposition is a vital part of any democracy in the world. For them, the absence of a genuine opposition can only mean the dominance of an authoritarian government.

In silencing opposition lawmakers through political persecution, democracy is diminished. This is why the IPU has cause for alarm when lawmakers are persecuted by strongmen, tyrants and despotic heads of state. This is the plain fact that SP Pimentel refuses to understand. Seemingly, and this is quite unfortunate, SP Pimentel sees nothing objectionable to what was done to me, which could mean that he doubts my innocence.

The trial by publicity, slut-shaming, and character assassination I was subjected to by Duterte and his allies in Congress, not to mention the bogus drug charges and employment of criminals as witnesses against me, in order to silence me and destroy me completely, did not escape the IPU.

This is what the IPU has realized, that despite our Constitution and our laws, this unprecedented political persecution carried out personally and directly by a sitting President and his allies in Congress was still made possible. And this is also why SP Pimentel has taken the IPU’s realization against them, simply because he is part of the regime that has willed my political and personal damnation.

The problem is not that the IPU is ignorant of our Constitution and our laws. It is that SP Pimentel and other officials have been so blinded by power that they can no longer see justice. They have already forgotten that this is what our Constitution and our laws are, for justice. Not for one man’s absolute power, and other men’s consuming ambition.

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