Parliamentary Union rep to visit PH as ‘observer’ in De Lima trial
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) will send a “trial observer” in the Philippines to monitor the case of detained Senator Leila de Lima.
IPU came up with the decision after it concluded its general assembly in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation last Oct. 18, based on the report and recommendation of the Human Rights Committee.
Earlier, IPU, in its report expressed grave concern over what it called trumped-up charges against De Lima.
The report concluded that the charges against De Lima were based on “dubious evidence and overreliance on testimonies of convicted drug inmates.”
“In each of the three cases, there are serious questions and doubts about the evidence. There are general concerns about the overreliance on testimonies by convicted drug lords, not only because they are proven criminals but because these individuals have an axe to grind with Senator de Lima,” the report said.
It also called on Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III to take up the cudgels for De Lima to ensure that her rights are not violated as she faces what appeared to be trumped-up charges levelled against her.
“The Senate has a special responsibility to help ensure that concerns about due process regarding one of its members are effectively addressed. The delegation therefore calls on the Senate, through its President, to do everything possible in this regard and thus help ensure that Senator de Lima can participate again in its work as soon as possible,” the report said.
In the IPU’s website, it said the union currently has 173 member parliaments and 11 associate members working closely with the United Nations and other partner organizations. The union’s headquarters is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Last May, IPU’s Committee on Human Rights President Fawzia Koofi from Afghanistan, Fazle Karim Chowdhury from Bangladesh and Rogier Huzienga, IPU Human Rights programme manager, visited De Lima in detention at the Philippine National Police’s Custodial Center.
READ: Foreign rights leaders visit De Lima in Camp Crame
De Lima, in her latest dispatch from detention, expressed elation over the IPU’s initiative to send representatives to monitor her case.
“Despite the Duterte administration’s obvious effort to intimidate and silence me through my continued unjust detention, I am grateful that the Inter-Parliamentary Union vows to fight for my right to fair trial,” she said.
“I thank the IPU for defending my causes and vouching for my integrity. I know that my fight is not my fight alone as this is the fight for human rights, democracy and rule of law. I will never be cowed until this government decides to value democratic principles and respect for human rights,” De Lima said. /jpv
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