Palace to US Senate panel: Mind your own business
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang slammed Friday the approval of a US Senate committee on an amendment to prohibit the entry of any Philippine government official involved in the alleged “politically motivated” imprisonment of Senator Leila De Lima, calling it an “insulting” and “offensive” act.
In a statement, Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said the US Senate panel’s action is a “brazen attempt to intrude” into the Philippines’ domestic legal processes “given that the subject cases against the detained senator are presently being heard by our local courts.”
He said the approval seeks to “place pressure” on the country’s “independent institutions thereby effectively interfering with our nation’s sovereignty.”
“It is an insult to the competence and capacity of our duly constituted authorities as such act makes it appear that this US Senate panel has the monopoly of what is right and just. It is an outright disrespect to our people’s clamor for law and order,” Panelo said.
The Palace official stressed that the US Senate panel is treating the Philippines as an “inferior state unqualified to run its own affairs.”
“All sensible Filipinos, regardless of their political or social association, should feel affronted and disrespected by this insulting and offensive act,” Panelo said.
The amendment was reportedly filed by US Senator Richard Durbin, one of five American lawmakers who earlier called for the dropping of charges against De Lima, a fierce President Duterte critic.
READ: US Senate bill seeks to ban PH officials involved in De Lima detention
READ: 5 US senators: Free De Lima
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said the Philippine government will “not respond to this group of American legislators by performing any repulsive action to reverse its decision.”
But he reiterated that De Lima is “no prisoner of conscience.”
De Lima is currently detained for allegedly abetting an illegal drug trade during her term as justice secretary in the previous administration. She maintained her innocence and accused the government of fabricating the cases against her.
Panelo insisted that De Lima’s case underwent the proper legal process and she is being afforded all her rights to due process.
“The Philippines must enforce its laws equally to all its citizens regardless of political and social status. In this part of the world, more particularly under this Administration, no one is above the law,” he said.
The Palace official also reminded the US Senate to mind its own business
“We continue to mind our own business, as each nation has enough problems that its government should focus on. We hope that the Senate panel of the United States of America shares the same policy,” Panelo said. /kga