Philippines: Justice Chief Chastised for Insulting IPU Officials

Apr. 20, 2007

MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel,
Jr. (PDP-Laban) today castigated Justice Secretary
Raul Gonzalez for using uncouth language during his
conversation with three visiting officials from the
Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) who are conducting an
inquiry into allegations of political persecution of
leftist party-list lawmakers and other human rights

Pimentel said Gonzalez spoke in a manner not befitting
a high public official when he told the three foreign
dignitaries IPU Secretary General Anders Johnsson of
Sweden, Senator Sharon Carnstairs of Canada, Vice
President of the IPU Committee on Human Rights; and
Committee Secretary Ingeborg Schwarz to go home
after the transmitted the IPUs request for the
release of Anak-Pawis party-list Rep. Crispin Beltran
and inquired into the cases against five other
congressmen from leftist party-list groups.

Kanto (street)-boy language doesnt fit the DOJ
office specially in dealing with foreign dignitaries,
he said.

The opposition senator recalled that Gonzalez used the
same discourteous remark when United Nations special
rapporteur on human rights Philip Alston paid a
courtesy call on him in connection with his
investigation of extra-judicial killings of political
activists and journalists in Manila last February.

Pimentel reminded Gonzalez that Johnsson, Carnstairs
and Schwartz came to the country on official, and not
on a personal mission, by virtue of a resolution
passed by IPU composed of legislators from 143
countries, including the Philippines, to inquire into
allegations of political harassment and violation of
civil liberties of party-list representatives who have
been fighting abuse of power and political repression
by the Arroyo administration.

As such, they should be accorded utmost courtesy and
extended full cooperation by Philippine government
officials in the discharge of their official mission,
Pimentel stressed.

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