De Lima counters Clooney's 'flamboyant gesture' on Arroyo case
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - March 11, 2015 - 4:57pm

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Wednesday addressed reports that former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's lawyer, Amal Alamuddin Clooney, elevated her case to the United Nations.

De Lima said the government has not yet received a notice of the complaint, which she called a "flamboyant gesture," filed by the camp of Clooney, but stressed that accusations of violations of Arroyo's rights should be directed to the judiciary.

"The Aquino administration is not responsible for the fact that the judiciary does not subscribe to her claim that her continued detention is a result of political persecution," De Lima said.

READ: Clooney’s wife wants Philippine government to apologize to GMA

Reports say Clooney filed a complaint before the United Nations Human Rights Council calling on the Philippine government to issue a public apology for keeping Arroyo under hospital arrest despite her medical condition.

Clooney, wife of Hollywood superstar George Clooney, also asserted that charges against Arroyo, currently Pampanga representative, are politically motivated.

In her statement, De Lima, herself a human rights lawyer by profession, countered Clooney and gave a brief on the government system, saying the judiciary remains independent of the executive and "continues to decide cases not on the basis of politics" but on legal merits.

"Ms. Alamuddin should know that her client must first exhaust domestic remedies before she can file a complaint before the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights," De Lima said.

READ: De Lima: MILF remains a revolutionary org

"This includes defending herself before the duly-constituted courts of the Philippines and, in the event of conviction, appealing the judgment to the Supreme Court," she added.

De Lima also alluded to Clooney's status as a "celebrity lawyer" in being involved in the highly publicized case. Arroyo, she said, can always seek for relief to have medical treatment abroad or to question a decision before Philippine courts.

"Such simple questions of fact or law on Rep. Arroyo's predicament are neither made grander nor more dramatic merely because they are raised by a celebrity lawyer before an international forum," De Lima said. "The flamboyant gesture only reflects the paucity of her cries of political persecution."

The country's Commission on Human Rights, meanwhile, called on the public to respect the integrity of the process involving the case filed by international human rights lawyer.

AMAL ALAMUDDIN CLOONEY CLOONEY DE LIMA GEORGE CLOONEY HIGH COMMISSIONER HUMAN RIGHTS JUSTICE SECRETARY LEILA LIMA MS. ALAMUDDIN PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO
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