European Parliament as purveyor of fake news

Published April 24, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Getsy Tiglao
Getsy Tiglao

By Getsy Tiglao

 

The European Parliament, which loves to boast about its adherence to democratic principles and human rights, has been spreading fake news about the Philippines. Its resolution on the Philippines is filled with innuendoes, lies, and half-truths about our country – clearly, the EP just wants to bully us into following their “orders.”

First off, let’s make clear that the European Parliament is not the European Union and neither is it the European Commission, the executive body of the EU. The EP is not even a parliament in the traditional sense since it cannot propose legislation.

Yes, the EP is the only parliament in the world that cannot initiate laws. It’s virtually useless since the EU’s member-states have retained their national parliaments. EC President Jean-Claude Juncker only last year denounced the EP as “not serious” and “ridiculous, totally ridiculous.”

Within the EU, it is the European Commission that has the power to initiate legislation and implement decisions. The “Parliament” of Europe can only give its opinion on Commission-proposed laws and while it has some form of legislative veto, it is too beholden to the EC (which has control over the parliamentarians’ allowances) to actually use this.

So to hide the fact that it has no real power or authority, the European Parliament has resorted to issuing resolutions against countries they feel they can bully. In the Philippine case, they are being helped in their efforts by traitorous Filipinos who want to destabilize the country by spreading false information about the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

For instance, the EP resolution claimed that 12,000 people have been killed in the Philippines since July 2016 due to the government’s “war on drugs.” What falsity! This number is the overblown figure coming from anti-government political groups and foreign human rights “watchdogs” who love nothing more than to see a downfall of the Duterte administration.

Why is it the EP didn’t even mention in its resolution the Philippine National Police’s data which showed in the same time period only 3,967 drug personalities died in connection with anti-drug operations? At least the US State Department in its own human rights report was fair enough to mention this data from Philippine law enforcement agencies.

As a Filipino, I’d rather believe in our PNP – one of our cherished democratic institutions – rather than in the words or data of undesirable aliens. I hope that Philippine media will start giving the PNP some measure of respect while giving a critical eye to the claims of highly-partisan foreign groups with their own political agenda.

The EP even resorted to the dramatic by saying that “women and children” were among those killed. Seriously? Can you name these women and children? The Philippine press, one of the freest in the world, would have reported these “women and children” that have been killed if there were indeed “thousands” of them.

Does the EP know that over 80 percent of Filipinos support and approve of government’s campaign against illegal drugs and the criminality it breeds? Does the EP know that Filipinos now feel safer walking in the streets because of the strong police presence? The EP doesn’t know because obviously it is getting its information from biased sources – government critics, traitors, and other destabilizers.

Another stupid line from the European Parliament resolution was the one calling for the release of Senator Leila de Lima from jail, where she has been detained on drug charges. (Her jail is cushy compared to regular jail, and she has media access. How free and kind are we!)

Hey, Euro-parliamentarians, Ms. De Lima was jailed because she reportedly colluded with drug lords and allegedly accepted millions of pesos in drug money, as testified by several witnesses. Filipinos are happy that she’s in jail and unable to provide “protection” as alleged by witnesses to drug lords and other criminals.

The EP resolution is a clear interference in Philippine domestic affairs. How would the Europeans feel if we started listing all their supposed faults, violations of the law, human rights abuses, anti-immigrant policies, and other stupid moves, in a Philippine Congressional Resolution? Let’s start the list with a recent one, France and Britain’s bombing of Syria without United Nations approval.

May we remind the EP that the Philippines is an established democracy with a working judiciary. De Lima has all the rights entitled to her under the law. She is getting a fair hearing unlike what the EP has been alluding to in its biased resolution. Really, EP, who drafted your resolution, was it Jude Sabio, the lawyer of self-confessed murderer Edgar Matobato?

There are so many other inanities in that EP resolution, including the veiled threat to remove the Philippines from the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), the EU’s low tariff program for developing countries. It said if the country failed to improve on its “human rights violations related to the war on drugs,” it was calling on the European Commission, “to initiate the procedural steps which could lead to the temporary withdrawal of the GSP-preferences.”

EC President Juncker was right when he branded the EP as “ridiculous.” The Euro-parliamentarians are known for being lazy bums who only attend plenary sessions to get their allowances and then leave. They also fail to show up for sessions when smaller EU countries are in discussion, showing their pasty faces only when the leaders of the big nations are in attendance.

Many Europeans don’t care at all for the EP, which is why voting for it has fallen steadily to less than 50 percent today. Those who are voted into the EP come mainly from left-wing, socialist, and other fringe groups that are very organized and can muster enough votes.

Sort of like our own party list system here, where the communist allies and groups with money are the ones capturing party list seats – and not the disenfranchised groups as intended by the law. But while these leftist groups love criticizng government, they equally love the perks, the huge salaries and allowances, that come with being a public official. How crazy and hypocritical is that?

 
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