Sotto pushes for Senate inquiry on Panamanian diplomat case

May 8, 2012 10:47 pm 

MANILA, April 8 – Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III pushed on Tuesday for the Senate inquiry into the granting of diplomatic immunity to a Panamanian national who was accused of raping a 19-year-old Filipina.

“Considering the gravity of the offense and the circumstances surrounding the case, we need to review our standards in matters of this nature. We need to clarify our existing rules and procedures in the treatment and grant of immunity to our diplomatic personnel in the Philippines,” Sotto said in a privilege speech.

Sotto said he would ask the Senate committee on foreign relations, headed by Senator Loren Legarda, to conduct the Senate investigation on Friday.

“It is not that there are crimes that are not covered by diplomatic immunity, as a matter of fact international law has no natural superiority over local laws,” Sotto said and even cited the case of a Filipino Ambassador who was subjected to American laws for allowing an illegal immigrant to work in his household.

Inability to give a solution to the offense, according to Sotto, is downright inexcusable compared to the failure of the Philippine government due to ‘distance, expense, and a different language, culture and law’ to arrest the issues of enslavement, prostitution, and drug use experienced by Filipinos abroad.

“This is about the crime of rape. When we fail to protect our very own, especially the dignity of our women, in our own backyard, in our own country, there can be no excuse,” he said.

Sotto said representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are urged to attend the hearing.

“The suggestions from DFA are imperative for us to legislate whatever is necessary to straighten this matter once and for all,” Sotto explained. (PNA) RMA/jfm/ Michelle Serrano/utb


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