DFA disputes EU Parliament resolution on PH rights record
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) condemned what it called the “misguided attempt” of the European Union (EU) Parliament to interfere in the country’s electoral process through a resolution underscoring the human rights situation in the country.
The DFA, in a statement, slammed the EU Parliament for “raising already discredited allegations of human rights violations in the thin hope of heavily influencing the outcome in favor of its choice.”
“The allegations raised in the resolution are unfair, largely baseless, prompted by European supporters of libelous journalists and bitter critics of the current administration because they miserably lost the previous election. The Resolution is based on a deliberately falsified impression of the actual human rights situation in the country. The Resolution is presumptuous given the historical record of its main proponents,” the DFA said.
“Far from what is presented in the Resolution, the Philippines is a vibrant democracy that respects and protects the freedoms of every citizen; and upholds all their rights, preeminently the rights to life, liberty, and, above all, safety and protection from the lawless and violent,” it stressed.
Confer with your envoys
The DFA strongly advised EU Parliament vice president Heidi Hautala “to prove her information, specifically with the EU Delegation to the Philippines, before she demands anything from the Philippines.”
“Her disrespectful language disregards these ongoing efforts of the Philippines and the United Nations, and the mechanisms and processes that inform their joint efforts to advance human rights,” the DFA said.
The foreign office also advised European lawmakers to listen “to more respectable sources than the militant front organizations masquerading as legitimate civil society organizations; the usual disgruntled members of a forlorn political opposition who clearly do not represent the majority of the Philippine electorate; and journalists who have a clear political agenda other than reporting the news in a fair and accurate manner.”
“While the European Parliamentarians are once again calling on the Philippines to adhere to democratic principles that Filipinos have widely practiced in the performance and hardly if ever in the breach, they themselves have violated these principles; not least when they refuse to pay heed to the democratic will of the vast majority of the Filipino people who clearly support the present duly elected government and its policies,” the DFA said.
It stressed that the parliament’s resolution “is a clear attempt to influence the outcome of our coming elections in May instead of accepting the sovereign will of the Filipino people as manifested in the previous elections.”
“That is yet another unfortunate intrusion in the internal affairs of a genuinely democratic republic, which only seeks to maintain harmonious relations with the European Union and all its Member States on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” the DFA added.
“We understand that the views of the Members of the European Parliament do not reflect those of the European Union as a whole or of its individual member states. Our engagement with the European Commission on the GSP+ process is a more accurate indication of the actual situation involving good governance, rule of law and human rights in the Philippines. We look forward to welcoming the next EU GSP+ monitoring mission on Feb. 28 to March 4,” the DFA said.
In a resolution it issued on Thursday, the European Parliament also warned of the withdrawal of the country’s privileges.
But the DFA said the allegations cited in the resolution were already addressed by the landmark UN Joint Program (UNJP) for Human Rights, “which was framed precisely to address these baseless allegations, respectful of the legal and accountable mechanisms that are already set in place of a fully functioning Philippine democracy, which is more than can be said of its traducers.”
“The UNJP embodies the spirit of partnership, trust-building and constructive engagement of the Human Rights Council resolution 45/33 jointly initiated by the Philippines and Iceland,” the DFA said.
The DFA also said that the UNJP covered alleged cases of extrajudicial killings involving militants and trade union leaders and deaths arising from the anti-illegal drug campaign.
“The Philippine justice system continues to ensure a safe and enabling civic space for civil society,” it said.