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Lacson slams US senators: We are not your colony

/ 11:45 AM April 07, 2019
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Sen. Panfilo Lacson. (File photo by RICHARD A. REYES / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Sunday slammed five American senators who filed a US resolution seeking the release of Senator Leila de Lima and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa as he stressed that the Philippines was not a colony of the United States.

Citing the Constitution, Lacson said the Philippines has its own judicial system which follows due process.

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“We are not their colony. We have a Constitution that provides for three co-equal branches and a judicial system where due process is followed, regardless of its flaws and weaknesses,” Lacson said in a tweet.

Lacson was responding to the resolution filed in the US Senate on April 4 by Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Marco Rubio of Florida, Richard Durbin of Illinois, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Christopher Coons of Delaware, who condemned the arrests of De Lima and Ressa.

Referring to Ressa’s arrest, the American senators condemned the “harassment, and unjustified judicial proceedings against the media and journalists,” urging the government to drop all charges against the journalist for freedom the press.

The resolution also sought the release of De Lima, who is detained on drug charges, stating that the senator was “a prisoner of conscience, detained solely on account of her political views and the legitimate exercise of her freedom of expression.”

“[The senators call for the Philippine government to] immediately release Senator De Lima, drop all charges against her, remove restrictions on her personal and work conditions, and allow her to fully discharge her legislative mandate, especially as Chair of the Committee on Social Justice,” the resolution states.

Human rights defenders

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The Americans also slammed the purported role of the government in “state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings by police and other armed individuals as part of the war on drugs.”

Moreover, the senators also urged the government to “recognize the importance of human rights defenders and their work and allow them to operate freely without fear of reprisal.”

Lacson said the Philippine Senate could file its own resolution criticizing the American lawmakers and underscoring the country’s independence from the US.

“A [Philippine] Senate resolution is appropriate to call out these five US senators,” Lacson said. /cbb

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TAGS: Drugs, Features, Leila de Lima, Maria Ressa, Panfilo Lacson, Rappler, US Senate
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