Dispatch from Crame No. 915: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the threatened EU trade sanctions and Malacañang’s claim that Joma Sison is responsible therefor


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The resolution passed yesterday by the EU Parliament with an overwhelming majority asks the European Commission to temporarily suspend the grant of trade preferences to the Philippines. This is the expected consequence of the Duterte Administration’s refusal to heed the EU Parliament’s earlier calls for the former to end the summary executions conducted by PH state agents in the ongoing war against the poor. This development is only expected as Europe escalates measures in the face of Duterte’s dismissal of their concerns arising from the drug war carnage in the Philippines.

The trade preferences are granted by the EU to countries who have signed various international agreements and treaties on human rights. What Europe is saying is that countries who respect human rights will be given preferential treatment in trade, as opposed to those who do not. Europe therefore has no obligation to maintain trade preferences once a trade partner country starts to treat human rights with disdain and contempt, like what the Philippines under Duterte is doing.

This is the long and short of the EU Parliament’s resolution passed yesterday. Duterte has long ignored the EU’s concerns on his conduct of summary executions at his own peril. The International Criminal Court will soon follow suit with its arrest warrant on Duterte.

Duterte would rather continue killing Filipinos than keep the trade benefits the EU extends in exchange for the PH government’s respect for human rights. Duterte calls it defending Philippine independence and sovereignty. What he is not saying is that no government in the modern world can still claim to have the independence and sovereignty to summarily execute its own citizens. Governments today simply no longer have a blank check to murder their own people. The doctrine of absolute power of the sovereign over its subjects has long ended in the twilight of the 19th century. Only Duterte still lives in that century when he thinks that he can go on ordering the murder of Filipinos without being held accountable by the global community.

Malacañang’s flippant retort on the trade sanctions is the signature response of a bankrupt regime. Harry Roque is peddling a lie when he said without any ounce of proof that Jose Ma. Sison is responsible for the EU’s action of withdrawing trade preferences. A murdering, lying regime simply cannot feign indignance over an imagined affront to its murdering and lying ways. Murderers and liars can never complain that they are being treated unfairly by a world that values human life and truth above all.

Is it too much for a continent that has grieved over millions of deaths in two world wars to tell the Philippine government to stop killing its own impoverished people in a drug war that is not even real? Only those who accept murder as a legitimate solution to national problems will agree. Only a Europe where Hitler has triumphed will congratulate Duterte for murdering thousands.

Duterte’s problem is not that Joma Sison has won over the EU. Duterte’s problem is that Hitler did not win the war in Europe. ###

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 915, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_no._915)

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