Palace hits IPU for intervention in domestic affairs
Malacanang slammed on Monday the Geneva-based organization of national parliaments for its plan to investigate the cases filed against opposition Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV, saying that it is interference of the country's domestic affairs.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union, in its resolution, called for the dropping of charges against De Lima or else it would send an observer to monitor and report on respect for fair trial standards in the cases against the lady senator before the two regional trial courts.
In the case of Trillanes, IPU said that President Rodrigo Duterte's issuance of Proclamation No. 572, voiding his amnesty was an attempt to silence the senator.
On Monday, a regional trial court in Makati City rejected the petition of the Department of Justice for the issuance of a warrant of arrest and hold departure order against Trillanes.
"We find it unfortunate that another prying organization has once again cast aspersion on the integrity of the legal processes of our country," Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, said in a statement.
"The Office of the President considers the resolutions adopted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), as well as its subsequent decisions on the cases of Senator Leila de Lima and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV during its 139th Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, as an affront to the core of our State’s principles. We consider such actions as interventions of our domestic affairs for they do not only show the Philippines in a bad light in front of the global community but worse, such one-sided evaluations infringe on our sovereignty," he added.
He said that it was surprising that IPU reached such a conclusion even without hearing the side of the Philippine government.
"This organization declares how it values adherence to the rule of law and due process but its actions speak otherwise. The act of publishing its findings even before conducting its intended probe already exposes how biased this organization is. Hence, we raise doubts as to the organization’s competency, integrity and invulnerability to political pressures," the official said.
He reiterated that De Lima's arrest stemmed from a warrant issued by an independent and competent court, which found probable cause that she may have committed the crime charged against her.
De Lima was allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison when she was still the secretary of the Department of Justice. She, however, denied the allegation, saying that she is a victim of political persecution.
In the case of Trillanes, Panelo insisted that the amnesty granted to Trillanes by the previous administration was defective.
Both De Lima and Trillanes are staunch critics of Duterte.
"We, therefore, ask the IPU to refrain from commenting further in the aforementioned cases as these are veiled attempts to influence the outcome of the cases, which are now pending before our local courts. In any case, we assure the IPU or any global organization that our justice system in the Philippines remains independent, effective, and functioning," Panelo said.
"The wheels of justice have started to grind, and the two lawmakers have been accorded due process and would continue to be given their respective days in court. Having said this, our State does not need guidance or directives from strangers. We can do well on our own," he stressed. Celerina Monte/DMS