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Bad PR! Drilon: Withdrawing from IPU would make PH look guilty in int’l stage

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House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should “mind her own” business and other fellow legislators will mind their own.

Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon made the remark amid the reported Arroyo’s proposal for the Philippines to withdraw membership from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

The IPU recently decided to send an official mission to the Philippines to inquire into the alleged political persecution of opposition Senators Leila de Lima and Sonny Trillanes.

In separate resolutions adopted at the end of the 139th IPU Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland in Oct. 18, the IPU expressed concern over the alleged human rights violations committed against de Lima and Trillanes.

“I oppose the proposal of Arroyo that we withdraw from the IPU just because this global body of parliamentarians expressed its concern over the political persecution of our fellow Senators Leila de Lima and Sonny Trillanes,” Drilon said.

Arroyo and seven other Filipino lawmakers were in attendance when the IPU approved the resolution in favor of De Lima and Trillanes.

Aside from Arroyo, the Philippine contingent to the 139th IPU was composed of Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, as well as Representatives Gustavo Tambunting, Ron Salo, Rodante Marcoleta and Eric Martinez.

Drilon said that Arroyo’s proposal “is despairing, defeatist and will be seen by the world as a tacit admission that indeed critical lawmakers are being persecuted under the Duterte administration.”

“It is folly for Speaker Arroyo to suggest that the IPU should be punished for performing its mandate to protect fellow members of the legislature from abusive and over-reaching tendencies of certain officials of the executive,” he said.

“I speak as a former chairman of the IPU Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians,” Drilon said. Trillanes, De Lima, and Drilon belong to the Senate opposition or minority bloc.

The respect for human rights, not only of Members of Parliament, but of ordinary citizens, “is a basic pillar of democracy,” the senator from Iloilo said.

“We must all do our share to uphold civil and human rights as well as the rule of law, both here and abroad,” Drilon said.

The IPU is an organization of national parliamentarians worldwide. It has currently 178 members and 12 associate members.

Formed in 1889, the IPU aims to “protect and build global democracy through political dialog and concrete action.”