Philippines: IPU Officials Displeased with Gonzalez’s Hostile Remarks

Apr. 23, 2007

MANILA — The three officials of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
(IPU) are very disappointed over the disparaging
remarks made by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez about
their mission to look into alleged persecution of
leftist party-list representatives to Congress, led by
Crispin Beltran (Anak-Pawis) and Satur Ocampo

They are saddened over the statement of the justice
secretary, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q.
Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) said.

Pimentel said Gonzalez failed to observe the
elementary norm of courtesy when he told the IPU
officials to go home when they presented him with an
IPU resolution seeking the release of Beltran and
sought his help in persuading the Arroyo government to
heed the resolution.

The IPU officials IPU Secretary General Anders
Johnsson of Sweden; Canadian Senator Sharon Carstairs,
Chairman of IPU Committee on Human Rights; and
Committee Secretary Ingerborg Schwarz paid a
courtesy call on Secretary Gonzalez at his office
Thursday. They were dispatched to the Philippines by
virtue of a motion of the IPU assembly composed of
parliamentarians from 143 countries after the Arroyo
government ignored the IPU resolution asking for
Beltrans release.

Pimentel said Gonzalezs repulsive remarks to the IPU
officials was contrary to the assurance of Speaker de
Venecia, Jr. and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita
that the government would fully cooperate with the IPU
team in their inquiry into of the cases of Beltran and
Ocampo and other members of the so-called Batasan 6.

The justice secretarys use of kanto-boy language in
dealing with the foreign dignitaries is irresponsible
and deplorable. Even if he frowned on the purpose of
the IPU officials in coming to the country, he should
have restrained himself from telling them their
presence is unwelcome, the opposition leader said.

Noting that it has become the justice secretarys
habit to insult foreign visitors investigating human
rights abuses in the country, Pimentel recalled that
Gonzalez berated United Nations special rapporteur
Philip Alston by calling him a mere mustacho or
errand boy of the world body while investigating cases
of extra-judicial killings of political activists and
working journalists here last February.

Pimentel said what Gonzalez probably did not know that
when he tried to humiliate the UN special rapporteur
and the three IPU officials, it was not only
themselves but the organizations they were
representing that were at the receiving end of his

Despite the fact that Gonzalez is becoming more and
more an embarrassment to the Arroyo government,
Pimentel said he does not expect the justice secretary
to be reprimanded by his superiors in Malacaang
because what matters to them most is the loyalty of
the Cabinet members and other administration

Pimentel said that it is perhaps about time for
Secretary General to quit over his shameful behavior.
But he said Malacaang is not expected to go along
with that move because it needs sycophants like him to
defend the President from her critics.

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