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Friday, 17 March 2017

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) expresses its concern with the European Parliament’s resolution on the case of Senator Leila De Lima as it casts aspersion on Philippine legal processes, its judicial system and the guarantees enshrined in the Constitution to uphold and protect the rights of all individuals. Philippine adherence to the rule of law remains as firm as ever, as is our commitment to the protection of human rights.

While we recognize the independent standing of the European Parliament within the EU system, resolutions that are crafted by its members of Parliament must necessarily possess unimpeachable standards, given the extremely sensitive topic of human rights. It is important that the elected members exert all efforts to secure more accurate information on resolutions, in order to avoid the impression of interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign non-EU countries.

The pillars of the criminal justice system remain to be effective and well- functioning in the Philippines, not only for Senator De Lima but for all.

The case is pending before the proper Philippine courts and the Philippine Government will allow the legal process to proceed accordingly. The Philippine Government asks the international community to refrain from influencing the outcome of a case that is rightly under the jurisdiction of Philippine local courts.

Allegations of state-sponsored extra-judicial killings are disturbing. The government is taking pains to investigate the veracity of these allegations of state-sponsored extra-judicial killings. This is being undertaken precisely to ensure that due process and the rule of law prevail even in situations of crises, such as the enormous drug problem that our society is facing. Public congressional hearings were convened to look into these allegations.

The Philippine Government stands ready and is firmly committed to strengthen existing mechanisms for dialogue and engagement on human rights and other issues with the EU and other international partners.

For instance, President Duterte recently ratified the Philippines-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) which will serve as a general framework for relations between the Philippines and the European Union. As such, it will allow the two sides to address challenges in a more coherent and sustainable manner through regular dialogue. While the PCA will still undergo the concurrence process in the Philippine Senate, we hope the EU side will also complete its ratification process for the agreement. END