De Lima: IPU withdrawal is Arroyo’s ‘personal vendetta’
Detained Senator Leila de Lima believes that Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s proposal for the Philippine Senate to withdraw from the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) was a “personal vendetta” against her.
“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,” De Lima said in a statement on Friday.
The senator noted that Arroyo is a “known ally” of President Rodrigo Duterte and would “go the extra mile to undermine any international effort in support of her plight as the first prominent political prisoner of the President.”
De Lima has been detained at the Philippine National Police’s Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City over drug charges .
She was the Secretary of the Department of Justice during the Aquino administration when it stopped Arroyo from leaving the country to seek medical treatment abroad in 2011.
Seven years later, Arroyo wants the Philippines to withdraw its membership from the IPU.
She made the recommendation after the IPU recently reiterated its concern over alleged human rights violations against De Lima and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV — two known critics of the Duterte administration.
De Lima, in the same statement, also expressed dismay over some of her colleagues’ reactions to the IPU’s call for them to act on the continued persecution against her and Trillanes.
In particular, she urged Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Panfilo Lacson, to be “more receptive – instead of dismissive — 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,” she said.
“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,” she added.
De Lima cited this particular remark of the Senate leader, who earlier said he was inclined to support Arroyo’s recommendation but after consultation with colleagues.
“I’m just wondering, how on earth can they (IPU members) think they can meddle with a member-country’s judicial process?” Sotto said.
Lacson, meanwhile, rejected Arroyo’s proposal, saying that withdrawing from IPU would “imply that the Philippine Senate acknowledges the political persecution of opposition senators.”
“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,” De Lima said. /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.