House leader backs PH exit from parliamentarians' union

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2018 10:49 AM | Updated as of Oct 24 2018 05:33 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) -House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez is supporting Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's suggestion for the Philippines to withdraw from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) due to its supposed interference in local judicial processes. 
 
Arroyo urged the Senate to leave the Geneva-based organization after it adopted 2 resolutions slamming the Philippine government for the alleged political persecution of opposition senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV. 

In a resolution filed Tuesday, Suarez said the IPU "stepped outside its boundaries with its interference in the country's judicial processes which runs counter to the principle of State sovereignty." 

Suarez called on the lower chamber of Congress to express support for Manila to withdraw its membership from the IPU. 

Surigao del Sur Rep. Propspero Pichay Jr. also backed Arroyo's call, questioning the IPU's defense of De Lima and Trillanes and pointed out that it was silent when Arroyo was detained years back. 

"When the rights of the former President and now Speaker of the House were violated as ruled by no less than the United Nations, the IPU was quiet. How come?" he said. 

"Where was the IPU when Speaker Arroyo was unjustly jailed for five years without any valid charges? Are they playing political partisanship?" he added.

Arroyo was detained over a plunder case filed against her for the allegedly questionable release of P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds in her last two years as President. She was released in 2016. 

A fact-finding mission of the IPU last year concluded that there was no evidence to justify De Lima's detention on drug charges. The organization of national parliaments from around the world has since called for the senator's release. 

In its latest resolutions, the IPU urged the Senate to act in solidarity with De Lima and the Supreme Court to grant her occasional "legislative furlough." 

The IPU also requested Philippine authorities to explain the factual and legal grounds of Duterte's move to withdraw the amnesty absolving Trillanes of charges over his 2 failed mutinies against Arroyo. 

IPU Secretary-General Martin Chungong earlier denied allegations that it is interfering with the country's judicial process as it was only doing its job of upholding human rights.

"There are no double standards...We are not singling out the Philippines. The committee was examining cases of some 50 cases during its session here in Geneva," Chungong said.

Aside from the IPU, the President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies has also threatened to leave the United Nations and the International Criminal Court. 

The UN has concern over Duterte's anti-narcotics drive, while the International Criminal Court is investigating alleged crimes against humanity under the campaign.--with reports from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News