The prosecuted parliamentarian

WHILE many are busy fussing about the local and national elections, the international community is also busy fussing about how to resolve cases of persecuted members of parliaments worldwide.

One specific issue caught my attention – Sen. Leila de Lima.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is concerned that the lady senator is still in detention despite the absence of any corroborated evidence to justify the charges against her. Accordingly, there are a total of 187 persecuted parliamentarians, majority of whom are members of the opposition.

Actually, the IPU already asked the government to allow it to observe court trials. This way, it can monitor the legality and fairness of any trial proceedings.

There may be a lot of questions as to the mission and jurisdiction of the IPU but it should be noted that the purpose of its investigations and monitoring is to ensure that human rights are well-protected.

The IPU has the mission to promote, protect and strengthen democracy around the world. Besides, the Philippines is a member state of this organization. As a member, it has the obligation to work with the IPU to promote democracy, equality, human rights, development, and peace.

Unfortunately, it was reported that the Philippines has not responded to IPU requests regarding its concerns. The latter simply wanted to request for information and to closely observe the legal proceedings if these comply with international fair trial.

This is an immediate concern that I am also disturbed – how the rule of law is being manipulated. The Senate has the responsibility to help its members speak the truth and participate in the discussions. I may not have taken any sides of this issue but it is also of my concern that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV may soon be arrested to silence him.

The deficiency in the rule of law is at stake. And we don’t want the nation to suffer from this.

We should always be mindful of the information we receive regarding these issues. It may be presented to us in a sound manner. However, we may not realize that we are already receiving false information that makes us protectors of violators of the rule of law.

High hopes to all prosecuted parliamentarians!

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(Atty. Ayin Dream D. Aplasca practices her profession in Iloilo City. She may be reached thru [email protected]/PN)

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