De Lima hits Koko’s ‘condescending’ remark on IPU ‘not understanding’ PH law
It was “extremely condescending” for Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III to call the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) ignorant of the Philippines’ Constitution and legal system, Sen. Leila De Lima said on Tuesday.
De Lima said that Pimentel and Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo were the ones who were “ignorant” of the IPU investigation process on cases of persecution of legislators by their own governments.
“It is therefore extremely condescending for SP Pimentel to treat his colleagues in the IPU as ignoramuses in the law,” De Lima said in a statement.
“They are, after all, lawmakers themselves, who are perfectly capable of understanding the difference between the black-letter law, on one hand, and the political reality of its perversion in the hands of a tyrant, like Duterte, and his minions,” she added.
Last week, Pimentel took a swipe at the IPU for its lack of understanding of the Philippine legal system after calling on the Senate “to act in solidarity” with De Lima.
Panelo, on the other hand, slammed the organization’s “intrusion” in the Philippine judicial affairs and told the body to educate itself first before “displaying its total lack of understanding of De Lima’s case.”
The IPU, an international organization of parliamentarians, called on the Philippine Senate to take steps in ensuring De Lima fulfill her duties as an elected lawmaker by letting her participate in Senate deliberations.
De Lima said that the IPU “has a full grasp of our Constitution and justice system for them to know how they should work in theory, and for them to be aware when they are bastardized in reality.”
“This is what the IPU has been telling SP Pimentel all along. The reality of my persecution does not conform to the substance of our Constitution and our laws,” she said.
The detained senator said that based on the organization’s own extensive fact-finding efforts, the IPU believes that the Philippine justice system “has been used for the vindictive purpose of silencing me, a member of the opposition and a leading critic of the administration in power.”
“The trial by publicity, slut-shaming, and character assassination I was subjected to by Duterte and his allies in Congress, not to mention the bogus drug charges and employment of criminals as witnesses against me, in order to silence me and destroy me completely, did not escape the IPU,” she added.
De Lima said that the IPU consciously raises the alarm on the persecution of opposition lawmakers and believes that the opposition is a vital part of any democracy in the world. And the absence of a genuine opposition can only mean the “dominance of an authoritarian government.”
The problem, De Lima said, was not that the IPU is ignorant of the Philippine Constitution and laws but that Pimentel and other officials “have been so blinded by power that they can no longer see justice.”
“They have already forgotten that this is what our Constitution and our laws are, for justice. Not for one man’s absolute power, and other men’s consuming ambition,” she said. /je
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