Palace hits US Senate on reso to free De Lima

The passage of the US Senate resolution seeking sanctions against Philippine officials involved in the detention of Senator Leila De Lima is a form of “bullying” and an “affront” to the Philippines’ sovereignty, Malacañang said Friday.

READ: US Senate puts its foot down on De Lima jailers

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo expressed disappointment over the passage of Senate Resolution 142, which condemns the Philippine government for De Lima’s detention and calls for her immediate release, which was passed “with an amendment and an amended preamble by Voice Vote,” according to the website of the US Senate.

Invoking the Global Magnitsky Act, the resolution also calls US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions against those involved in the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country.

“Such actions are brazen and intrusive to the dignity of an independent, democratic and sovereign state such as ours,” Panelo said.

The Global Magnitsky Act gives the US executive branch the authority to impose travel restrictions and financial penalties on those deemed to be human rights violators anywhere in the world.

The penalties called for in the resolution include the barring of the US entry and the freezing of the assets of De Lima’s detainers. 

Panelo maintained that the lawmakers were “misinformed” and “misguided” by the critics of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“These latest actions of the US Senate are a form of bullying on the part of a particular institution of a foreign country. We will not be bullied by any foreign country or by its officials, specially by misinformed and gullible politicians who grandstand at our expense,” Panelo said.

READ: PH bars entry of 2 US solons

The resolution was submitted in April 2019 by Senator Eduard Markey, who was then barred from entering the Philippines as ordered by the President for his support of the detained senator.

READ: US bans PH execs, Palace unfazed

“If and when these calls materialize, the Palace considers the same as a direct and shameless affront against the Republic of the Philippines, which has longed ceased to be a colony of the United States of America,” Panelo said.

However, the Palace trusts that the agents of the US executive branch are “more discerning and circumspect in the areas of diplomacy and sovereign respect and will act in accordance with credible information and supporting evidence,” Panelo said.

He also insisted that the drug charges against De Lima had nothing to do with her critical stance against the Duterte administration or her affiliation with the political opposition. 

READ: US senator talks trash—Palace

De Lima has been in detention since February 2017 over drug charges. She has been a vocal critic of the administration’s anti-drug campaign and has previously called for a Senate probe over a “death squad” that allegedly conducts vigilante-style killings of drug suspects.

Meanwhile, Panelo said US lawmaker Dick Durbin had displayed “offensive and shameful illiteracy” on governance when he called President Duterte “autocratic.” 

READ: De Lima deserves to be jailed—Duterte

Durbin earlier called Duterte “autocratic” as he urged the administration again to release De Lima.

Like Markey, he was also barred from entering the Philippines for his appeal to release De Lima.

Topics: US Senate resolution , Leila De Lima , Salvador Panelo , Voice Vote
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