Wednesday July 18, 2018

Andanar hits IPU's interference in De Lima's case

COMMUNICATIONS Secretary Martin Andanar on Saturday slammed the Inter-Parliamentary Union's (IPU) intent to send an observer to the Philippines to monitor the trial of detained Senator Leila de Lima, who was accused of drug involvement.

Andanar, in a statement, branded as mere "bullying" the supposed interference of the international lawmakers in the Philippines' domestic affairs.

"The IPU’s recommendation to send an observer to monitor the case of Senator Leila de Lima is a classic example of bullying," the Communications chief said in a statement.

"We should stand up to this kind of meddling into our domestic affairs. Their intent is not to merely observe De Lima’s trial by our laws, but to meddle in our democratic as well as judicial processes," he added.

The IPU made the decision to deploy a trial observer in the Philippines following the recommendation of the delegation of its Human Rights Committee, which visited the country to look into the status of De Lima and alleged summary executions under the Duterte administration.

De Lima was arrested in February because of her alleged involvement in drug proliferation inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City while she was the Justice Secretary from 2010 to 2015.

She was currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

In its report, the IPU delegation expressed doubts over the evidence presented to support the three drug-related charges lodged against De Lima.

"The delegation points out that in each of the three cases, there are serious questions and doubts about the evidence. There are general concerns about the overreliancs on testimonies by convicted drug lords, not only because they are proven criminals but because these individuals have an axe to grind with Senator De Lima," the report read.

"The delegation also fails to understand how the accusatikns against Senator De Lima makes sense, given that it was she took action against the alleged drug trafficking in the NBP,"' it added.

The IPU said in its previous report that it was gravely convened over the so-called trumped-up cases against De Lima.

Andanar maintained that the government had "abundant" evidence to prove De Lima's involvement in illegal drug trafficking inside the national penitentiary.

"Over and over, pronouncements from the IPU portray the Philippines as a lawless nation when there is abundant evidence to the contrary," he said.

On October 13, President Rodrigo Duterte insisted that De Lima's link to illegal drugs was "real." (SunStar Philippines)