Don't interfere in Philippines — European Parliament told

Cheryl Sanders
March 18, 2017

On Thursday, the European Parliament issued a joint resolution to call for support from EU member-nations in the establishment of a probe at the UN Human Rights Council into the "unlawful killings and other violations" in the Philippines.

The UN special rapporteurs on extrajudicial executions and torture also called on Philippine lawmakers to reject the death penalty bill, which was recently passed by the House of Representatives.

While the European Parliament may feel it has a "sovereign obligation" to make such a call, the same drug war that led to De Lima's arrest has brought about "newfound peace and order", claimed Abella.

Like Pimentel and Panelo, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III also slammed the European Parliament for interference in Philippine affairs.

Furthermore, the members of the Parliament asked the Filipino officials "to ensure a fair trial, recalling the right to the presumption of innocence, to drop all politically motivated charges against her, and to end any further acts of harassment against her".

His call was echoed by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, who said the European Parliament "should know its place in the world".

The European Parliament should mind its own business and avoid meddling with the country's internal affairs, including judicial processes, Malacañang and Senate officials said yesterday in the wake of the call for the release of Senator Leila de Lima, who is now detained on drug charges.

Earlier, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the European parliament should respect the country's judicial system, including the detention of De Lima.

MANILA The Philippines derided the European parliament on Friday for interfering in its affairs after it issued a resolution calling for the release of a top critic of the president's war on drugs, which it said should target narcotics networks instead of users.

Abella said the Philippine government is merely addressing the drug menace, which "has seeped into the system from the smallest political unit to the halls of Congress years before the Duterte administration". "That is foreign interference".

For its part, Malacañang asked the European Union "to be more circumspect in basing their pronouncements and decisions on fact based evidence", Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella said in a separate statement.

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.

Following the meeting held this week by the European Parliament to discuss their planned motion to immediately free detained Senator Leila de Lima, the organization has already pushed through with their appeal to the Philippine government.

"This latest action from an worldwide body (following similar statements from other reputable global organizations) is but a tangible proof that the rest of the world do care about what's happening in our country today", the senator said.

"It is naked political persecution. Our democracy works", Abella said.

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