IPU's concern over De Lima's detention affront to Philippine sovereignty: Panelo
President Rodrigo Duterte's chief legal counsel has denounced the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on what he called as its intrusion to the Philippine sovereignty.
The IPU has adopted a resolution, expressing concern over opposition Senator Leila de Lima's continued detention as it urged the Senate, led by Senate President Aquiino Pimentel III, to help ensure that its members participate in its deliberations and to speak out when they face reprisals for their work.
"IPU's putting to task the Senate to insure the participation of De Lima in the Senate deliberations is an outright and outrageous intrusion into the internal affairs of the state as well as an affront to our sovereignty," Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said on Thursday.
He said the IPU's resolution reiterating its concern to the continued trial and detention of De Lima "exposes its ignorance on the workings of the justice system in the Philippines,"
He said the IPU must educate itself before displaying its "total lack of understanding" of De Lima's case.
Panelo said the IPU must know De Lima was accorded due process.
He explained that a judge of a court of "competent jurisdiction issued a warrant for her arrest after a judicious determination of the existence of a probable cause for a drug related case filed against her."
"No one is above the law. Her being a Senator can not shield her from the majesty of the law," he said," he said.
Panelo said the members of the IPU should focus on the problems of their countries in the matter of violation of human rights "as well on the drug menace instead of poking their fingers on a subject they know nothing about."
IPU, a global organization of national parliaments, works to safeguard peace and drive positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action. The Philippines is one of its 178 members.
De Lima has been detained for over the year now over alleged violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. She alleged received kickbacks from the illegal drug trade when she was still the Justice secretary.
She denied the allegation, saying what has been happening to her is political persecution for her strong criticisms on President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody war on drugs and his alleged human rights violations when he was still the Davao City mayor. Celerina Monte/DMS