Dispatch from Crame No. 412: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s statement on her colleague’s reaction to the IPU reso


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I view with disappointment the harsh reactions of my colleagues, Senate President Tito Sotto and Sen. Ping Lacson, to the request of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) for the Philippine Senate to act on the Duterte government’s acts of persecution against me and Sen. Sonny Trillanes.

As their fellow senator, I would like to think that they would be more receptive and open 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. 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.

The IPU is not made up of unreasonable individuals who just happen to have the habit of picking 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.

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.

Sen. Lacson for one should know where the IPU is coming from. For a senator who once cried political persecution by the Arroyo Administration, and hid as a fugitive during my term as Secretary of Justice to evade what he claims to be an unjust warrant for his arrest, Sen. Lacson would expectedly be interested in looking into another case of political persecution. Unless, of course, his personal feelings of enmity against me for pursuing him while he evaded arrest have forever clouded his judgment, and now precludes him from deciding based on principles that he himself proclaimed to be fighting for during his rather long bout with the law.

As for Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her position to withdraw membership of the Philippine Congress from the IPU, while patently unwise, is only expected. 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 will continue to undermine any international effort in support of my plight as a political prisoner of President Duterte, who also just happens to be her major ally and personal savior from political ignominy.

I have made enemies out of powerful individuals during my time as Secretary of Justice. Lacson and Arroyo who are now lashing out at the IPU for supporting my cause have their own personal reasons for my prolonged suffering under this government. For them it is just a matter of getting even, no more, no less. They are the least objective individuals to judge the reasonableness and value of the IPU recommendations on my case.

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