Panelo: EU Parliament’s call for De Lima’s release a ‘foreign intrusion’
President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief presidential legal counsel described as “foreign intrusion” the call of the European Parliament on the Philippine government to release Sen. Leila de Lima from detention.
“Iyon ang maliwanag na foreign intrusion. Kagaya ng sinabi mo, wala silang pakialam dito sa ginagawa natin sa ating bansa (This is a clear foreign intrusion. As you said, they should not interfere with what we do in our country),” lawyer Salvador Panelo said in a radio interview on Friday.
In a statement, the Palace official told the EU Parliament to “mind their own business.”
“They cannot dictate on the Philippine government on what to do with its constituents facing criminal charges nor can they interfere with the judicial processes of our country,” he said. “Neither can they demand our government the performance of an act. That is foreign interference. They should mind their own business.”
The EU Parliament’s joint motion said there were “serious concerns for (De Lima’s) safety,” adding that journalists, human rights defenders and activists like her “face regular threats, harassment, intimidation and cyber bullying.”
It described the embattled senator as “a human rights advocate and the highest profile critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.”
On Thursday, Malacañang said the EU Parliament has a “misunderstanding of what’s happening to [de Lima].”
“The lady is being charged with crime—not political persuasions,” he said. “So I think they ought to respect that,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.
De Lima surrendered to authorities on February 24, after a warrant of arrest was issued against her over her alleged involvement in illegal drugs. The senator is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center in Camp Crame, Quezon City. RAM