Malacañang on Monday said the country does not need legal guidance from “strangers,” as it said that members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union are not welcome in the Philippines.
This was in reaction to the statement made by the IPU, which said that it would send an official mission to the country to look into the administration’s “political persecution” of two of its most vocal critics in Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the IPU’s probe would be “counterintuitive” as the group already have formed its conclusion without even conducting an investigation.
“The problem with IPU, they said they would investigate, but they already have a conclusion that they [senators] are victims of injustice and maltreatment. Why do they have that conclusion? They didn’t even investigate first,” Panelo said in a radio interview Monday.
“I don’t think they’re welcome here, they will only cause trouble,” Panelo added.
In a statement released Sunday, the IPU said it adopted during their 139th assembly two resolutions expressing deep concern over the “human rights violations” against the two opposition senators.
Expressing concern about the “public campaign of vilification by the highest state authorities” against De Lima, the IPU said it will do a follow up visit to the former Justice secretary.
The group again called for the release of De Lima, even as it urged the Senate to act in solidarity with the detained lawmaker.
The IPU also said that it is worried over the issues surrounding Trillanes following the issuance of Proclamation Order No. 572 in August, questioning the senator’s amnesty.
“Trillanes is facing renewed charges of rebellion, and possibly of mounting a coup d’état, with regard to the same incidents that occurred in 2003 and 2007, offenses for which he, together with all others involved, was subsequently amnestied in 2011,” the group said, expressing concern that the senator may soon be arrested and silenced.
In a separate statement, the Palace called IPU as “another prying organization” that belittles the integrity of the country’s legal processes.
“We consider such actions as interventions of our domestic affairs for they do not only show the Philippines in a bad light in front of the global community but worse, such one-sided evaluations infringe on our sovereignty,” Panelo said Monday.
He also raised doubts on the IPU’s competency and integrity, adding that the group, which declares itself as adhering to the rule of law and due process, is biased.
Panelo also justified the government’s actions toward both De Lima and Trillanes, saying that the cases against them were anchored on legal justifications.
“We ask the IPU to refrain from commenting in the aforementioned cases as these are veiled attempts to influence the outcome of the cases, which are now pending before our local courts,” he said, even as he assured the IPU and any other global organization that the country’s justice system remains independent, effective, and functioning.
“Our State does not need guidance or directives from strangers. We can do well on our own,” he said.
As this developed, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has recommended to the Senate that Philippines withdraw its membership from the IPU.
Arroyo made the statement as she noted that the IPU continues to intervene in the country’s judicial processes.
“So since this is the second time they (senators) did it (opposition), to my knowledge. I am recommending to the Senate, which heads the delegation, that we should withdraw our membership with the IPU,” said Arroyo at the sidelines of a medical mission and dialogue in Barangay Escopa in Quezon City.
Last week, Arroyo delivered a speech before the 139th IPU General Assembly at the Centre for International Conference Geneve in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Well, you know the last time (2017) there was an IPU and then Senate President Aquilino Pimentel [III] was head of delegation and he decried the interference of the IPU in our judicial processes. This time, over the objection of the Philippine delegation, again they did the same thing,” she said.
Arroyo was head of the IPU Philippine delegation composed of members of Senate and the House of Representatives.
Also in attendance were Recto and Senators Franklin Drilon and Panfilo Lacson, and Representatives Rodante Marcoleta, Greg Gasataya, Federico Sandoval, Ron Salo, Ma. Theresa Collantes and Karlo Alexei Nograles.
“As far as my interaction is concerned, the only LP senator was Sen. Frank Drilon and it was quite cordial. The other senator I interacted with was Sen. Ralph Recto and he is not opposition. He is majority leader. So it was okay,” Arroyo said.
The IPU is a global organization of national parliamentarians from 178 member-states.