Friday, October 9, 2015

Palace says it respects United Nations Working Group’s opinion on the case former President Arroyo October 8, 2015

From the Website of the President

Palace says it respects United Nations Working Group’s opinion on the case former President Arroyo October 8, 2015
Malacañang on Thursday said it respects the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s (WGAD) opinion on the case involving former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but maintained that the latter has been accorded due process under Philippine law.

In a statement, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the Philippines “takes note of the opinion of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and will prepare an appropriate response, according to WGAD’s rules.”

Quoting the Department of Foreign Affairs, he said the country, as a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, abides by its international obligations and ensures that all individuals are accorded due process under its laws.

“Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been accorded such due process and has availed herself of various legal remedies under Philippine laws. It must be noted that there is an ongoing judicial process in the Philippine courts, which has sole jurisdiction to decide on such matters. The Philippine Government or any international body for that matter, cannot interfere nor influence the course of an independent judicial proceeding,” he said in the statement.

During the daily media briefing at the Palace, Coloma reiterated that while the Philippine government respects the UN-WGAD’s opinion, it disagrees with the view expressed by the group.

“Ang mahalaga sa posisyon ng ating pamahalaan ay ang pagsasabi na naaayon sa batas ang lahat ng isinasagawang proseso patungkol sa dating Pangulong Arroyo. Kung meron silang mga opinyon o pananaw hinggil sa ating sistema karapatan nila iyon. Basta malinaw ang posisyon ng ating pamahalaan na hindi tayo sumasang-ayon sa pananaw na inihayag nila,” he said.

On the preparation of an “appropriate response” to the UN-WGAD’s opinion, Coloma said, “Merong mga procedure doon sa UN, unawain natin kung ano ang mga ito, iyon ang gagamitin nating channel for conveying our position.”

Last February, international lawyer Amal Alamuddin-Clooney filed a complaint at the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights on behalf of Arroyo, to compel the Philippine government to release the former president on humanitarian grounds.

On October 2, the UN-WGAD recommended that Arroyo be accorded “with an enforceable right to compensation” for being denied of bail.

Clooney said the UN opinion “finds that the detention of former President Arroyo was arbitrary and illegal under international law because the Sandiganbayan court failed to take into account her individual circumstances when it repeatedly denied bail, failed to consider measures alternative to pre-trial detention and because of the undue delays in proceedings against her”.

Arroyo, who currently serves as a Pampanga Congresswoman, is suffering from multilevel cervical spondylosis.

She is facing plunder charges for the alleged misuse of P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds during her tenure as president.

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