House leaders back PH IPU withdrawal

Danilo Suarez

HOUSE Minority Leader Danilo Suarez yesterday filed a resolution supporting the move to withdraw the Philippines from the inter-parliamentary union (IPU).

Through filing House Resolution 2270, Suarez is backing Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s suggestion to the Senate to withdraw membership from the international group.

According to Suarez, IPU was created with a vision of protecting and strengthening democracy.

The House leader also expressed disappointment over the intrusion of foreign parliaments in the judicial process of the Philippine government.

“IPU was created to build strong national parliaments that can deliver on issues like health, sustainable development, peace and security,” Suarez said.

Earlier, Arroyo said she is proposing to the Senate to boycott the IPU as she expressed dismay over the meddling of the parliaments in the Philippine government’s judicial process.

“I am recommending to the Senate which heads the delegation that we should withdraw our membership with the IPU,” Arroyo said.

“The last time there was an IPU and then Senate President Koko Pimentel was head of delegation and he decried the interference of the IPU in our judicial processes. This time, they did it again,” Arroyo lamented.

The House leader together with some solons attended the IPU meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

The two House leaders are reacting to reports that a group of international lawmakers are planning to look into the alleged political persecution of opposition Senators Antonio Trillanes and Leila De Lima.

The Palace expressed concern that the IPU might only cause trouble in the country.

Allies of President Rodrigo Duterte are criticizing the group for meddling in the country’s affairs as well as disrespecting the local legal processes.

Deputy Speaker Prospero Pichay also defended Arroyo’s recommendation to pull out from IPU, accusing the group of “political partisanship.”

Pichay questioned the IPU’s quick defense of Senators De Lima and Trillanes in contrast with its silence when the rights of the former President and now Speaker of the House were violated as no less than the United Nations ruled.

Pichay was referring to the time Arroyo was accused of plunder and graft and was under hospital arrest.

“Where was the IPU when Speaker Arroyo was unjustly jailed for five years without any valid charges? Are they playing political partisanship?” he asked.

“Sovereignty of a country should be beyond the reach of any international body or organization. If the Speaker of the House of Representatives feels that our sovereignty has been violated and has moved to defend it, that should be respected,” Pichay added.

The House leader said that unlike the IPU, the Philippine laws and judicial processes do not discriminate.  

“I fully support the Speaker’s call to withdraw from the IPU because it serves no serious purpose but to interfere in the legal and judicial processes of member-parliaments while doing nothing on the real injustices committed on many of its members,” Pichay stressed.