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European Liberals to seek EU action vs De Lima arrest, worsening rights situation

Sen. Leila de Lima waves as she is loaded onto a police coaster following her arrest.
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- Leading European liberal politicians denounced the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima and will seek action from the European Union against what they called President Rodrigo Duterte’s “illiberal state.”

A press statement from Liberal International, the “world federation of Liberal and progressive democratic political parties,” said European Hans van Baalen would call the attention of the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini to the Philippine situation.

The statement was relayed to media by Senator Francis Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, which is a full member of LI.

Baalen, the Liberal International “president of honor” and president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Europe Party, said they were “deeply concerned about the arrest of the Liberal Party senator Leila de Lima in particular and the deteriorating human rights situation in general.” 

“The Philippines, under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte, is turning rapidly into an illiberal state, where there is no respect for the law whatsoever,” Baalen said. “I have asked written questions to HRVP Mogherini in order to see what action the EU can take.”

Markus Löning, chairman of the Liberal International Human Rights Committee and Germany’s Commissioner for Human Rights from 2010 to 2014, said: “Leila de Lima is a highly respected human rights activist fighting against corruption and for the rule of law when she was the Minister of Justice and now as an elected member of the Senate of the Philippines.”

“The president of the Philippines must respect and defend the laws of his country and human rights. That is his obligation towards his own people,” he said. “Liberals across the world will stand up for Leila de Lima’s immediate release.”