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IN THE KNOW: The Inter-Parliamentary Union

07:21 AM October 22, 2018

Formed in 1889, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is a group of foreign parliamentarians committed to promoting democracy, equality, human rights and peace through political dialogue and concrete action.

The IPU has 178 member parliaments, which include countries such as China, Russia, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Australia and the Philippines. Its headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland.

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In April last year, the IPU Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians received approval from then Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III to check on the condition of Sen. Leila de Lima, who is detained on drug charges.

De Lima is facing three counts of violation of Section No. 5 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in relation to trafficking and criminal liability of government officials.

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The charges, filed by the Department of Justice in February 2017, were raffled off to three branches of the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court.

The committee, in its resolution, said De Lima “is targeted due to her outspoken criticism of the impact of the current government’s policies on human rights in the Philippines.”

A month later, three members of the IPU went on a three-day mission to examine De Lima’s case. They also met with Pimentel and asked the then Senate President to ensure De Lima’s rights were not violated.

In its 16-page report released in July, the IPU cast doubt on the evidence presented in each of the three drug charges filed against De Lima.

Another lawmaker and outspoken critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, is facing revived rebellion charges after Mr. Duterte voided his 2011 amnesty on the grounds that the former Navy officer who staged a mutiny 15 years ago failed to apply for amnesty.

Trillanes later said his arrest was a clear example of Mr. Duterte harassing his critics, “the ones telling the truth whom he could not face.” —INQUIRER RESEARCH

SOURCES: INQUIRER ARCHIVES, WWW.IPU.ORG

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