Press Release
September 18, 2012

Senators call for free and honest elections in Cambodia

The Senate today adopted a resolution extending its support to Cambodia in its efforts to promote parliamentary and inclusive democracy, following the recommendations made by the United Nations Special Rapporteur.

Senate Resolution No. 873, introduced by Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, was unanimously approved by the Upper Chamber.

Senator Franklin M. Drilon, meanwhile, called for free and fair elections in Cambodia. Drilon chairs the International Parliamentary Committee for Democratic Elections in Cambodia (IPCDEC), which was launched on September 10, 2012 during a visit by exiled Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

"We want to persuade the Cambodian government to promote an environment of peace and openness for opposition parties with their leaders given free and equal chances in the political process. In this regard, we will not only work to ensure that elections are fair; we shall also use our organization in helping Cambodia restore its democracy to the fullest, because we want to empower the Cambodian people to make a free and informed choice. Everyone in a democratic system like the Philippines deserves nothing less," added Drilon.

The Philippines and Cambodia have been pursuing efforts to strengthen cooperation on various fronts, including investments, trade, air, services, tourism, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, among other areas.

"The Philippine Senate has taken cognizance of the report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia Professor Surya Subedi dated July 16, 2012, which include, among others, a report on the progress made on the human rights situation and related governance reforms," the resolution said.

The Senate further expressed its support to Cambodia's journey towards democratization by acknowledging the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, which, according to the resolution, has "put forward specific recommendations to support preparations for the Cambodian national polls to be held in July 2013."

"The Philippine Senate joins the Special Rapporteur in recognizing the milestones achieved by Cambodia since the adoption of the Paris Peace Agreements in strengthening democracy, human rights, and the rule of law," the resolution further said, adding that "the Philippine Senate is in full support of efforts that will help promote the conduct of legitimate political activities by all political parties (in Cambodia) in a fair manner." (YVONNE ALMIRAÑEZ, PRIB)

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