The most awkward moment in the Senate’s recent history was when Senator Leila De Lima, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights led the probe on drug suspects’ extrajudicial killings.
A few days before the probe, she was accused left and right by no less than the President of this Republic about her alleged link with drug lords; how she cuddled them and partied with them despite their being detained in prison.
For the sake of preserving the honor and integrity of the Senate, shouldn’t they have re-assigned another person to do the probe? How can an accused lead a probe? How can an accused seek to investigate, in aid of legislation the extrajudicial killings when she is allegedly part of the plot? How can she question with a straight face the consequences of her own work while she was the head of the Department of Justice? How can she help “to strengthen the mechanisms of accountability of law enforcers, and to institute corrective legislative measures to ensure full respect for basic human rights, especially the right to life” when she is allegedly part of the drug problem in the first place.
In her opening statement at the Senate, De Lima said: “My concern does not only revolve around the growing tally of killings reported by the Philippine National Police. What is particularly worrisome is that the campaign against drugs seems to be an excuse for some law enforcers and other elements like vigilantes to commit murder with impunity.” How can the public believe her sincerity when her credibility at the moment is in question? Doesn’t her statements contain ‘double-standards’? Is she trying to protect herself? The drug lords? The drug trade she has allegedly protected in the confines of her former office (DOJ)?
During the probe, everything she said and the questions she asked backfired on her. Senator Alan Peter Cayetano was right in saying that Sen. De Lima should have inhibited herself from the investigation amid allegations of drug links. Traditionally, it’s called delicadeza. But today not many people have this trait anymore. We have been hardened with pride, greed and conceit.
The Senate must look into strengthening the honor of the office. Its reputation has been tarnished by the many politicians who do not care about the country but themselves. Each senator seems to represent ‘vested’ interests leaving the halls of Congress with more power while sucking out the resources of this land. The many laws they have passed have not served the country but themselves. Our senate president should now do some introspection. Enough grandstanding. Enough of the senate circuses (inquiries) that our countrymen love to watch as they have become a prime time teleserye. Restore the prominence, the decency and the dignity of this office. It’s time to work, to work for the country.
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When Duterte said he would pull the Philippines out of the United Nations, I couldn’t believe it. I knew it was a threat on his part, but I think he really meant it. After all the frustration and exasperation of the country’s problems, I can’t blame Duterte for being angry. The country is in a mess. Thanks to the past administrations who have not addressed the problems properly. It’s not easy to be in the President’s position – damn if you do, damn if you don’t. He is definitely not a ‘lame duck’ president. He wants to get things done immediately. So those foreign correspondents who don’t know the real situation in the country not to mention the Filipino mentality (character and traits), better understand why the president is acting or even talking this way. They have no right to tell us what to do. They should stop meddling. Better yet, they should go back to their country and analyze their own problems out there. The Philippines is such a tiny archipelago. You cannot help but wonder what their interest is here?
The only envoy who sees optimism in Duterte’s moves is the Ambassador of Singapore to Manila, Kok Li Peng. Singapore also worked its way out of the abyss of darkness. Lee Kwan Yew used an iron fist in a seemingly hopeless Singapore which is now one of the world’s most prosperous nations. Kok said: “I think your president has many challenges to face and to deal with. But what’s striking is that he’s got a very comprehensive agenda and his ensemble is very experienced and very capable. He’s going to do it.”
Now going back to the United Nations, we must understand that it is not easy to withdraw from this intergovernmental organization. I’m sure the President realized that a few days later. The UN system covers the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food Program, UNESCO and UNICEF.
So far, there have been no withdrawals from the UN amongst its member states. Only Indonesia attempted to withdraw when it opposed in 1965 Malaysia’s seat as Security Council member. It conveyed its termination of membership through a letter addressed to the UN secretary-general. A year after Indonesia declared that it intends to resume participation in the UN. The country’s prior action was not considered a withdrawal and it continued as a member without reapplying.
The Vienna Convention on the Law of the Treaties offers an alternative to state parties that want to terminate membership from international treaties.
Article 62 of the convention states that a state party can withdraw from a treaty if an unforeseen “fundamental change of circumstances” occurs. The period of notice, which should be made in writing, must not be less than three months except in cases of special urgency.
Anyway, the UN may be bad as a world body but there is nothing better. The power is in the Security Council. It rules in all important matters. Then, there is the General Assembly. Third world countries are a majority but it is said that these are only debating clubs and propaganda games.
The UN is expensive to maintain. It is loaded with bureaucrats who just talk and churn out paper. US conservatives are always threatening to leave. But remember the UN headquarters is in New York. So you see, the US has a lot to gain too. Agencies in Geneva and Paris like the UNESCO have their own dynamics.
The UN was set up after World War II to replace the League of Nations to bring world peace. But of course we know for a fact that this is an elusive dream. UN was once stuck with US-Soviet split and now with China as the third super power.
Leadership of the UN is weak. Look at what happened in the Middle East. It is said that the organization only preaches human rights to small countries like the Philippines and tends to favor yellows and pro-Americans. The UN, people say is more noise than actual results.
How true? Only those inside the UN know the truth. But let us not also discount the fact that during difficult times, the UN was there to help us rebuild. And we also know for a fact that we will need the UN still for a very long time. So, let’s just be calm and carry on with the day’s work. Keep the faith. It may bring wonders to this land.