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ROUGH CUTS| The worst kind of bullying

If there is any worst kind of bullying from stronger countries to smaller and weaker ones, it is being done by the European Union members to our own Philippines.

Last week, the Union sent a delegation to the Philippines supposedly to discuss issues where cooperation can be made easier between our country and the EU members. In reality, however, it was one trip that the delegation used to convince our present government to allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors to pursue their investigation on what the ICC is made to believe the existence of massive extrajudicial killings during the Duterte administration.

The EU delegation even went further by setting a condition to facilitate the renewal of a reduced tariff agreement on Philippine products entering the European markets. This condition is the immediate release of jailed former Senator Laila de Lima, who is facing illegal drug-related charges. The European Union representatives even asked for a meeting with the senators, hoping they could get the lawmakers’ support to get the ICC probe moving.

The most vocal of the delegates in expressing their demands was the one coming from Spain, a country that enslaved the Philippines for over four centuries. The woman perhaps could have thought our country was still part of their colony.

But what the gall those EU delegation members have! They were short of saying that if we need their countries’ cooperation and assistance, we must abide by their bidding. Is not their scheme the worst kind of bullying? The delegation was undermining our country’s sovereignty and disrespecting our government. It is unimaginable that outsiders just demand the government to release the incarcerated senator as if there are no cases now under the jurisdiction and tried in Philippine courts!

What the delegation did was actually short of saying that the group members do not believe that we have a functioning judicial system and that the courts are incapable of dispensing justice – the way they want it, of course.

And why are those delegates from the EU member countries so insistent on having the Philippine government restore its membership to the ICC and prosecute Duterte? Why were they silent as lambs on the possible organized human rights violations when the US and its allies virtually “massacred” the outnumbered and poorly armed Iraqis when they invaded the Middle Eastern country on mere suspicion that it was in possession of weapons of mass destruction? Why are they not demanding investigations on such countries as Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela which are the bases of highly organized drug cartels supplying illegal substances to the United States and other countries resulting in the destruction of the future of many of its young people?

The answer is simple. They did not because they could not! But for smaller and economically vulnerable countries like the Philippines, the EU thinks it can easily cow them down to submission for fear of sanctions like closing their countries’ market to the entry of their products.

And what if the present dispensation makes the mistake of authorizing the ICC to conduct the investigation? What guarantee those representatives who came to the country last week can give that the probe will be fair when they have already made the conclusion that the government perpetrated all the deaths during the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the Duterte administration? And what can be expected of the ICC decision on the case that the world court probers will elevate to its jurisdiction from a highly biased investigation?

We can only hope that our present government leaders will be guided accordingly in making decisions on the subtle “intimidation” of the EU through its representatives who have recently come to the Philippines.

We pray that our country’s leader will only be subservient to our Constitution, which is the backbone of our sovereignty as a nation. They (Philippine leaders) should not be threatened by European countries, the leaders of which are still harboring their old colonial mentalities.

As a modern philosopher once said, “If you want a helping hand, you can first find it at the tip of your own arm.” And yes, the Philippines can look for that “helping hand/s” within its immediate vicinity – its Asian neighbors first and foremost.  


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