Solons spurn withdrawal from int’l lawmakers’ body

Panfilo Lacson
Panfilo Lacson

SENATOR Panfilo “Ping” Lacson yesterday warned against the country’s withdrawal of membership from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) saying that such act would only “acknowledge the political persecution of opposition senators.”

Lacson in his statement said that House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s recommendation is based on the wrong premise. He insisted that the IPU has yet to act on its Human Rights Committee’s recommendation to the IPU Governing Council.

“Having said that, it is premature, if at all, to denounce the IPU as a whole, much less withdraw membership from the body,” Lacson said.

The senator stressed that the recent resolution of Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV’s coup d’etat case by the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 148 is “proof that the judicial process works in our country, and that the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary from the executive and legislative is evident and clear.”

“It is the Senate, not the House of Representatives, that is a member of the IPU, so I’m not sure where Speaker GMA is coming from,” Lacson added.

Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said that he is inclined to concur with Arroyo’s recommendation but must still consult his colleagues in the Upper Chamber.

“Before that, perhaps the IPU’s human rights committee should be reminded that the Philippines is a sovereign state with a working judicial process, and a Constitution that decrees the separation of powers for the executive, legislative and judicial branches,” Sotto said in his statement.

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros said that the possible withdrawal of membership is a “fake assertion of sovereignty” and will only confirm the IPU’s serious concerns on the country’s worsening human rights record.

She said that there may come a day when the Philippines will run out of intergovernmental bodies that it can be part of. She cited the withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and now the proposal to withdraw from IPU.

“What’s next, we withdraw membership from the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) or even the United Nations (UN)?” she asked.

She reminded the government that the country cannot just withdraw from the rest of the world since the Philippines is part of a global community.