THE visit of the 12-member European Union delegation to look into the situation of detained Sen. Leila de Lima would be more understandable to the Filipino people and their government had the EU shown similar concern for the maladministration of justice during the time of President Benigno Aquino 3rd and further, if the EU would first clarify whether 1) it is making the visit on the request of the Philippine political opposition; or 2) it is visiting to continue a policy of taking in interest in our political affairs.
The visit would certainly be understandable to our people and government had the EU sent a fact-finding mission to look into controversial cases that transpired when Ms De Lima was serving as the secretary of justice in the government of Aquino 3rd.
We do not remember our hosting at the time any visit of EU parliamentarians to look into the following landmark cases:
1. The forced detention on trumped-up charges for over three years of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which was orchestrated by Ms De Lima on the orders of President Aquino. President Arroyo has since gained her liberty, largely because none of the multiple charges could stand up under legal scrutiny;
2. The impeachment of the republic’s Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Renato Corona, and its Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez on orders of President Aquino, and in total disregard of their constitutional tenure.
3. The detention and trial of three opposition senators – former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, and Sen. Bong Revilla—senators who served far longer in the Senate than Senator de Lima, who was only elected last year.
None of these sensational cases merited a visit by an EU delegation, or even a letter of concern from the European parliament. Never did anyone in Europe express concern for the human rights of these Filipino officials.
When there was a big debate in the Philippines about the practice of selective justice in the Aquino government, nobody in Europe noticed.
What worries us here is the appalling lack of consistency in the EU’s policy and interest in political and human rights cases in other countries. This appears to suggest that the European parliament, and some of its members, are taking sides in our national politics.
It is true that the Philippines maintains very good relations with the European Union, and our country has been receiving valuable assistance from Europe.
That relationship and that assistance, however, do not empower the European parliament to meddle in our affairs and our politics.
While the current EU visit has been characterized as a “fact- sharing” mission, this does not excuse the act of meddling.
This visit will be utilized by Senator de Lima to portray herself as a victim, when she faces very serious charges in court for crooked acts and decisions when she was the country’s justice secretary.