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Statement of Sen. Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, on the Departure of the Panamanian Diplomat Accused of Rape

May 14, 2012

“IT IS REGRETTABLE THAT THE PANAMANIAN GOVERNMENT DID NOT HEED THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT’S REQUEST TO WAIVE THE IMMUNITY OF MR. ERICK SHCKS. A MORE HONORABLE WAY OF ADDRESSING THE ACCUSATIONS WOULD HAVE BEEN FOR MR. SHCKS, THE MAN ACCUSED OF RAPE OF A FILIPINA, TO FACE HIS ACCUSER AND ANSWER THE ALLEGATIONS HERE IN OUR COUNTRY. MR. SHCKS DID NOT ONLY ABUSE THE HOSPITALITY OF OUR COUNTRY BY REFUSING TO ANSWER FOR THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HIM, HE DISRESPECTED OUR LAWS AND THE RIGHTS OF THE PERSON HE IS ALLEGED TO HAVE VIOLATED. DECLARING HIM PERSONA NON GRATA IS A RECOURSE OUR COUNTRY IS ALLOWED TO TAKE UNDER THE VIENNA CONVENTION ON DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS (VCDR). I JUST HOPE THAT ON HIS RETURN TO HIS COUNTRY, THE PANAMANIAN GOVERNMENT WOULD INITIATE ITS OWN INVESTIGATION OF MR. SHCKS AND THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HIM. WE EXPECT THAT OF A COUNTRY THAT SHARES OUR BELIEF IN THE RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS. MUCH AS WE HAVE AN INTERNATIONAL LAW ON DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS, I REMIND ALL CONCERNED THAT WE ARE EQUALLY BOUND BY A HIGHER INTERNATIONAL LAW—THE RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS.
“The VCDR was never conceived as a tool to perpetrate abuses and violation of laws by diplomats. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will be initiating its investigation of the incident with the view to developing policies that will ensure that guidelines and mechanisms for the effective enforcement of diplomatic rights, as well as obligations and responsibilities, will be provided and observed.”