IPU "inquiry" on Trillanes, de Lima still recommendation: Senate majority
A supposed "inquiry" by the Inter-Parliamentary Union into the alleged political persecution of Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV is still in the recommendation stage and is not binding for now.
The Senate majority bloc stressed this on Monday as they noted the "inquiry" and related actions are mere recommendations by the IPU's Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, and has not reached the plenary for adoption.
Some legislators who attended the 139th IPU conference in Geneva earlier this month as part of the Philippine delegation also scored some of the committee's recommendations for bordering on undue interference in the Philippines' internal affairs.
"The supposed 'IPU-adopted resolutions,' at least at this time, are mere recommendations of the IPU's Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to the Governing Council of the IPU, which has yet to forward the same to the plenary for adoption by the member parliamentarians," Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.
"We believe we should correct the inaccuracies in the interpretation by Sen. de Lima's camp of the facts, deliberate or otherwise" Lacson, one of the three senators who attended this year's IPU assembly.
Speaking for and on behalf of the Senate majority bloc, Lacson cited a document from the IPU website showing the human rights committee's decision was to "recommend" that the IPU governing council reiterate its call for de Lima's release and to "abandon the legal proceedings against her."
The human rights committee's recommendations to the governing council also included asking the Philippine Supreme Court to grant de Lima occasional "legislative furlough" and to hold an urgent follow-up visit by the IPU human rights committee to the Philippines to look into the cases of de Lima and Trillanes.
Another recommendation was for de Lima's colleagues in the Philippine Senate to "act in solidarity" with her.
On the other hand, a check of the IPU's news archives did not indicate the international body had adopted these recommendations.
"Perhaps the IPU's human rights committee should be reminded that the Philippines is a sovereign state with a working judicial process, and a Constitution that decrees the separation of powers for the executive, legislative and judicial branches," Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
"Its recommendation to interfere in our judicial process by calling for the abandoning of legal proceedings against Sen. de Lima and an 'occasional legislative furlough' for her; and for us, her colleagues in the Senate, to 'act in solidarity' with her, smack of arrogance and temerity," he added.
Sotto admitted that initially, he was inclined to concur with the idea.
"But after due consultation with my colleagues, I reconsidered my position on the matter. With all due respect to my fellow parliamentarians, I'm just wondering, how on earth can they think they can meddle with a member-country's judicial process?" Sotto asked. DMS