MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday accused European Parliament of intrusion for calling for the release of detained Senator and top government critic Leila de Lima.
“The Philippine government is concerned with the European Parliament's resolution of the case of Senator Leila de Lima as it casts aspersion on Philippine legal processes, its judicial system, and the guarantees enshrined in the Constitution to uphold and protect the rights of all individuals,” the DFA said in a statement.
DFA said pillars of the criminal justice system in the Philippines remain effective and well-functioning, “not only for the senator but for all.”
It also said the international community must allow the legal process to proceed.
“We ask the international community to refrain from influencing the outcome of a case that is rightly under the jurisdiction of Philippine local courts,” the DFA said.
‘EU CROSSED THE LINE’
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella also said the European Parliament cannot interfere in the actions of the Philippine government.
“They can not dictate on the Philippine government on what to do with its constituents facing criminal charges nor can they interfere with the judicial processes of our country,” Abella said.
“Neither can they demand our government the performance an act. That is foreign interference. They should mind their own business.”
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III also slammed the European Parliament’s call, saying this was clearly an intrusion into a purely domestic affair.
“The EU Parliament should know its place in the world. It has no right to manage Philippine affairs hence much more no right to micro-manage our country,” said Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.
Pimentel said that while he believes "parliaments are free to air their sentiments on various issues worth commenting," the EU Parliament should "refrain from interference in internal affairs."
"The EU Parliament has crossed the line. They should step back and do some soul-searching,” said Pimentel.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: FREE DE LIMA
European legislators on Thursday called on the Philippines to immediately free De Lima, who has waged a decade-long bid to expose Duterte as the leader of death squads.
De Lima was arrested last month for drug trafficking, in what her allies say were trumped-up charges.
She said charges are to silence her probes into thousands of killings allegedly orchestrated by Duterte when he was a city mayor.
MEPs in a resolution called "for the immediate release of Senator Leila M. De Lima and for her to be provided with adequate security whilst in detention."
They also strongly condemned "the high number of extrajudicial killings by the armed forces and vigilante groups related to the anti-drug campaign."
The MEPs said they felt "grave concern over credible reports to the effect that the Philippine police force is falsifying evidence to justify extrajudicial killings," the resolution added.
Since Duterte took office in the middle of last year, about 7,000 people have been killed in a crackdown on crime, prompting accusations by rights groups that the president could be overseeing a crime against humanity.
On Thursday Duterte's ruling party stripped a dozen lawmakers of congressional leadership posts for voting against the death penalty, turning up the pressure on his opponents. – with AFP