The Philippines’ relations with the United States would remain “untarnished” despite the “misguided and intrusive act” by some American senators considered as an insult to Manila’s dignity and sovereignty, Malacañang said Saturday.
The assurance was made by Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo as he said the Duterte administration viewed with “grave concern” the US Senate foreign relations panel’s call for the immediate release of detained Senator Leila de Lima and the dropping of charges against Rappler chief Maria Ressa.
“While we continue to respect the US Senate as an institution, we, however, will not allow our sovereignty trampled upon by a few of their members,” Panelo, who is also the Presidential Chief Legal Counsel, said in a statement.
“We hope that probing and educated minds will ultimately prevail and that such misguided and intrusive act shall not tarnish nor diminish the warm relations between our two countries.”
The US Senate foreign relations committee approved on Dec. 11 Resolution 142, which urges the Philippine government to immediately release De Lima and withdraw charges against Ressa.
De Lima is detained at the Philippine Custodial Center in Quezon City because of her supposed involvement in unlawful drug trade during her stint as Justice secretary under the Aquino administration.
Ressa is accused of evading the payment of P150 million in tax dues.