"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. I have asked written questions to HRVP [Federica] Mogherini in order to see what action the EU can take,” said Hans van Baalen MEP, Liberal Internatioal President of Honour and President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Europe Party.
“The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Europe Party is deeply concerned about the arrest of the Liberal Party senator Leila de Lima in particular and the deteriorating human rights situation in general," Baalen said in the statement, which was forwarded by Liberal Party president Sen. Francis Pangilinan to the media on Saturday.
The Liberal Party is a member of Liberal International, an organization of "liberal and progressive democratic political parties."
Markus Loning, chairman of the Liberal Interntaional Human Rights Committee, said in the same forwarded message that "liberals across the world will stand up for Leila de Lima's immediate release."
Loning also called Duterte to respect the laws of his country and human rights.
In a separate statement, the Human Rights Watch accused Duterte of persecuting his enemies in the guise of his administration's war on drugs.
'Expanded' drug war
It also alleged that De Lima's arrest showed that Duterte is capable of "debasing" the government to the level of personal vendetta.
"By arresting Senator Leila de Lima on politically motivated drug charges, President Duterte has effectively expanded his 'drug war' from the urban poor to the legislative branch of the government," HRW Asian Division Deputy Director Phelim Kine said.
"The arrest of Senator de Lima suggests that Duterte is willing to debase Philippine governance to the level of personal vendetta," he added.
De Lima, a vocal critic of Duterte, was arrested Friday morning, a day after a local court issued an arrest warrant against her on charges that she allowed the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison during her stint as secretary of the Department of Justice.
De Lima, who has denied the charges against her and has claimed to be a victim of political persecution, is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center inside Camp Crame.
In her messages for the anniversary of the 1986 People Power, De Lima reiterated that her arrest was politically motivated.
She encouraged people to voice out their concerns against the thousands of killings in Duterte's war on drugs.
"Kung magpapatuloy ang mala-diktador na pamamahala at ang paglabag sa ating mga karapatan, anong kinabukasan ang naghihintay sa atin? Alalahanin po natin: Walang People Power, walang demokrasya, walang tunay na kalayaan, kung nanahimik at nagwalang kibo lamang ang sambayanan sa harap ng talamak na katiwalian, karahasan, at pagmamalabis sa kapangyarihan," she said.
She added: "Anuman ang ating katayuan sa buhay, kawani man ng pamahalaan, kasapi ng media, o karaniwang mamamayan, malinaw ang panawagan sa lahat: Sa harap ng nagbabadyang kadiliman, pag-alabin pa natin ang diwa ng EDSA. Sama-sama tayong tumindig laban sa mapaniil na rehimen at diktadurya, at kapit-bisig na ipaglaban ang katotohanan at katarungan sa ating bayan."
She also cited in her message that the number of killings under Duterte's seven-month war on drugs is greater than those perpetrated during the 14 years of Martial law under the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
Source: GMA News