MANILA, Philippines – The world is watching and thus the Duterte regime can’t just do anything based on “one man’s whim.”
This was according to Sen. Leila de Lima, who on Wednesday warned the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to “shape up and stop living in a fantasy world” as the “growing clamor for accountability will ensure that justice will catch up to them.”
The detained lawmaker issued the statement following the official visit of a 12-man mission from the European Parliament (EP) to her detention cell at the Philippine National Police Custodial in Center Camp Crame, Quezon City and the announcement of the U.S. Congress that it would hold a pubic hearing on extrajudicial killings in the Philippines through the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on July 20.
“(T)he visit of the EP mission is a testament that international institutions are watching how the government is handling its human rights situation…Once again, these visits from international institutions prove that indeed, the world is watching closely what is happening in our country under the Duterte regime. The US Congress will even hold hearings on the widespread human rights violations in the Philippines,” she said.
The EP delegation’s Subcommittee on Human Rights Mission to the Philippines chaired by Soraya Viola Heléna Post, a Parliament member from Sweden, arrived in the country last July 17 to check on the current human rights violations committed under the government’s all-out war on drugs, especially about the spate of extrajudicial and summary killings.
De Lima said that during their visit, the EP members looked into the senator’s “condition as a ‘prisoner of conscience’, deprived of liberty for defending human rights, opposing the brazen killings and flagrant violations of human dignity in the wake of Duterte’s murderous war on drugs.”
The senator also said the mission had solicited her views on the human rights situation in the Philippines, including pending bills in Congress, such as the restoration of death penalty, and the move to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
‘Very interested’ in HR situation in PH
In a media interview on Tuesday, while the delegation was at the Senate, Post said EP members went to the country because “we are very interested in the development of the situation of human rights in the Philippines..and would like to have a meeting with different stakeholders” in the country.
Post said that across the world, including the Philippines, “we can see a clear decrease on respect for human rights.”
“And when it comes to the Philippines, we have heard a lot of killings in the drug war, the impunity and to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 9 years,” she said.
“So we want to speak about this, to discuss the development of the Philippines. But we wish also all the Philippines, the cities of the Philippines, good luck. It is our concern, it is the Filipinos’ concern, it’s the whole world’s concern. We live in a global society, so we have to share responsibility with what’s happening around the world,” added Post.
Asked about her opinion on Duterte’s resolve to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year, Post said, “Of course, as a human rights activist and as a member of the European Parliament, I wouldn’t propose them to extend this. But it is not my decision, it’s the Philippines’ decision.”
Asked why she was opposed to the extension of military rule in Southern Philippines, Post said, “Because it’s not good.”
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