Membership of convenience

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WE are disappointed, but not surprised, at the findings of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in the case of former president and now Pampanga representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

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Disappointed, because formal criticism by the world body is a stain on the reputation of the Philippines that could have easily been avoided. Not surprised, because for more than four years the cruel and unreasonable treatment of Rep. Arroyo by the vindictive Aquino regime has been clear to all.

According to the UN working group, the detention of former President Arroyo is “arbitrary and illegal under international law.” The working group also found that the charges – none of which have prospered or even been vigorously pursued in the courts – lodged against Arroyo were “politically motivated,” and that she is detained “as a result of the exercise of her right to take part in government and the conduct of public affairs’ and ‘because of her political … opinion.”

In view of all that, the UN working group recommended that the Sandiganbayan reconsider Arroyo’s request for bail, and further “to accord Ms Arroyo with an enforceable right to compensation … for the deprivation of liberty which already occurred,” as well as to conduct a fair trial “without delay and consistent with international human rights law.”

Furthermore, the UN body criticized the Aquino government for its habit of defying court rulings, noting that Arroyo was prevented from leaving the country in 2011 to seek medical treatment abroad, despite the Supreme Court having ruled invalid a travel ban against her.

Predictably, the current regime responded with callous dismissal of the findings, suggesting in impolite terms that the UN keep its opinions of “an internal matter” to itself, and offering the bald rebuttal that the former president’s treatment is neither illegal nor unfair.

The UN body’s findings on the case of Mrs. Arroyo were correct, and the reason why they were correct was because they were based on well-established, consistent global standards on protection of human rights. It is not the first time a UN body has been critical of the Aquino government in that respect – most recently, the world body expressed concerns over the plight of the Lumads in Mindanao – but the government continues to assert that its view of what is right and proper should be respected, stressing the point that the UN has no authority to dictate how the Philippines runs its own affairs.

Yet when the Aquino government needs the UN’s help, such as in the dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea, it is quick to seek it and to proclaim loudly to everyone who will listen that whatever the UN decides should be followed unquestioningly.

To be sure, we support the government in seeking arbitration on the West Philippine Sea issue, but we must nevertheless point out that the Aquino administration cannot have it both ways – it cannot be an abiding member of the United Nations only when it suits its needs, but be exempt from the standards that membership requires when doing so would impact its narrow political agenda. Being a member state of the UN is a matter of commitment, not convenience, and it is regrettable that it takes being the subject of unfavorable international headlines to drive that message home to the country’s leadership.

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9 Comments

  1. >>> Noon paman year 2010election campaign ni Abnoy BSC-Aquino 3rd ay pinabatid at pinaalam na niya sa taong bayan kung anong utak at pag-iisip mayroon siya.”kung ano nais niya un DAPat masunod” naaayon man o hind sa batas. Kailangan sa simula ng kaniyang panunungkulan ay simula rin ng kalbaryo ng mga naging kalaban at may balak labanan siya o ang kaniyang pamahalaan.

    >>> Si Abnoy BENIGNO SIMEON COJUANGCO-AQUINO 3RD AY ISANG URI NG TAONG TULAD NG “MASAMANG DAMO SA TIWANG-WANG NA LUPA”, NA HINDI DAPat MANATILI SA KAPALIGIRAN. Mas mabuti ang halaman “Makahiya” marunog yumuko at mahiya at ngayon ay napapakinabangan bilang Herbal Medicine.

  2. Gloria Arroyo is in detention for plunder, a non-bailable crime under Philippine law. GMA knows she’s guilty and has to face the reality of that crime. As president, she used the powers of her office to participate and encouraged corruption and now blames Aquino and others for the consequences of her actions. It is not political persecution or arbitrary detention as the UN body say it is. GMA committed a crime, Aquino enforced the law. What’s wrong with that?

    • PGMA is not yet convicted of plunder, the case is still pending in the Court! Know your facts before commenting.
      Her co-accused was already released with bail. Why is she still on jail? Because she is the only President who have the guts to tell Aquino to distribute Hda Luisita to the real beneficiary of CARP! The Aquino family hates her for that.

  3. the only way for the insanity to stop or to keep it going afrer pnoy is gone is not to vote for roxas, rather, to vote for duterte. it’s the only way out.

  4. This, and other actions of this administration, are proofs of the “Abnoy Factor”; vindictive, stubborn and insensitive. Yet, candidate Roxas talks of ‘continuing’ the “Matuwid Na Daan” which is non-existent. It’s a catch phrase, plain and simple– and means nothing.