IPU insists non-interference with Philippine justice system
MANILA- The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) insisted on Wednesday that it is not interfering with the Philippine judicial system and is simply doing its job of upholding human rights.
This as House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called for Manila's withdrawal from the union since the IPU allegedly tried to interfere with the country's judicial process twice.
"What we are trying to do should not be construed as interference in the judicial processes of countries. We are simply asking the judicial authority or parliamentary authority to ensure that due process is followed," IPU Secretary-General Martin Chungong told ANC.
"We are not saying that parliamentarians are above the law," he added.
The human rights committee of the IPU has published decisions with entries on President Rodrigo Duterte's critics, detained Senator Leila de Lima and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
A mission of the IPU committee to the Philippines in 2017 concluded that there was no evidence to justify the criminal cases against De Lima.
Chungong explained that the IPU is not singling out the Philippines in expressing concerns over members of parliament experiencing human rights violations worldwide.
"There are no double standards...We are not singling out the Philippines. The committee was examining...some 50 cases during its session here in Geneva," he said.
"The organization that I represent is just keeping true to its values of upholding human rights," he added.
The union has recently resolved to send an official mission to the Philippines to look into the supposed political persecution of De Lima and Trillanes.
With the recent resolution, Chungong urged the Philippine government to cooperate with the IPU mission for a "balanced judgment."
As to the Philippines' possible exit from the IPU, Chungong said it would be a "pity" since Manila has been a member of the union for decades already.
"It would be a pity if they (Philippines) were to formally leave the organization. This is an organization that articulates the voice of parliaments on the global stage," he said.