Palace hits back at EU Parliament for urging De Lima’s release
Malacañang on Friday hit back at the European Union after its parliament called on the Philippine government to release Sen. Leila de Lima from detention.
“Senator Leila de Lima was arrested on charges that is criminal nature—not political. Her arrest strictly followed legal procedures, and given the chance to explain and rebut allegations against her,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
Abella urged the EU to “be more circumspect in basing their pronouncements and decisions on fact based evidence.”
Supporters of De Lima slammed the administration, saying trumped up charges were filed against the senator because she is a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“So-called critics, with deep personal interests, have brilliantly manipulated biased information locally and internationally by using willing public officials who are agreeable to lend credence to baseless claims,” he said.
The Palace official said “the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court found probable cause,” which led to the issuance of an arrest warrant against the senator.
Critics distorting reality
Abella addressed criticisms from the EU Parliament, which also condemned extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration.
“We reiterate that the Duterte administration does not engage in so-called extra-judicial killings. It continues to follow due process and holds itself accountable for its actions,” he said.
The Palace official also disputed the claims of Vice President Ma. “Leonor “Leni” Robredo to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs criticizing the administration’s war on drugs.
“In direct contradiction to the Vice President’s claims on the UN video, the majority of common people actually feel safer on the streets and more hopeful economically after PRRD (President Rodrigo Duterte) came into power,” he said.
The drug menace in the country, he said, has already reached the level of narcopolitics, meaning drug trade has seeped into the system from the smallest political unit to the halls of Congress years before the Duterte administration.
“It is unfortunate that certain powerful interests have gained the capacity to distort Philippine reality in order to gain back and continue with their extractive politics, being threatened by the creative disruption of PRRD’s political actions,” he added.
Losing zero tariffs
Malacañang hoped the EU Parliament would reconsider its decision that the Philippines may lose zero tariff from its trade with EU.
“On the possible loss of zero tariffs, we urge the European Parliament to reconsider its decision as we remind everyone, including international bodies, to allow us to deal with our domestic challenges without unwarranted foreign interference,” Abella said.
“While some may feel a ‘sovereign obligation’ to step into the affairs of another state, it is vital to recognize that the Philippines is a sovereign state, and that the people welcome the newfound peace and order they now enjoy. Our democracy works,” he added. RAM/rga