Pichay defends Arroyo, accuses IPU of ‘political partisanship’
House Deputy Speaker Prospero Pichay Jr. on Wednesday defended Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s recommendation to pull out from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which he accused of “political partisanship.”
The Arroyo ally also questioned why the Geneva-based global organization of national parliamentarians was quick to defend administration critics Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV while it was silent when the former president was jailed.
“The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is quick to defend Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes, but when the rights of the former President and now Speaker of the House were violated as ruled by no less than the United Nations, the IPU was quiet. How come?” Pichay asked in a statement.
“Where was the IPU when Speaker Arroyo was unjustly jailed for five years without any valid charges? Are they playing political partisanship?” he added.
In 2012, the Ombudsman filed a case for plunder against Arroyo in relation to the misuse of multi-million funds of the state-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). In 2013, the Anti-Graft Court ordered her arrest, but she was eventually allowed to be under hospital arrest.
Arroyo was cleared of plunder by the Supreme Court in 2016.
Pichay also asked why the IPU has “interfered” in the cases involving De Lima and Trillanes when the “same judicial processes had been used against Arroyo.”
De Lima is currently detained on drug charges which she repeatedly claimed as trumped-up and politically motivated, while Trillanes’ amnesty was revoked by President Rodrigo Duterte.
On Monday, Arroyo said she would recommend to the Senate the withdrawal of the Philippines’ membership from the IPU composed of 178-member states.
This came after the organization voiced its concern over the alleged human rights violations against two of the fiercest critics of the Duterte administration — opposition de Lima and Trillanes.
The IPU also issued a resolution in March urging the Senate to take steps in ensuring that De Lima fulfill her duties as a duly elected lawmaker by letting her participate in the chamber’s deliberations.
Some opposition lawmakers from the House of Representatives slammed Arroyo’s plan with Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin branding it as a “diplomatic disaster” that “derogates” the country’s standing in international bodies.
But another Arroyo ally, Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, backed Arroyo’s bid to pull out from the IPU by filing a House resolution. /ee
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