Palace: US panel misled on De Lima
Malacañang on Friday advised the US Senate’s foreign relations panel to study the Philippine judicial system after it was “misled” by the opposition and the media into issuing a resolution calling for the release of Sen. Leila de Lima and seeking sanctions against officials responsible for her detention.
“Apparently they have been misled by the reports coming from the opposition, as well as media outlets [that have] been biased against the administration,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told a television interview.
Panelo urged US Sen. Ed Markey and his colleagues to “study our processes here, so they will not make mistakes by just listening to hearsay and what they read about in the newspapers and letters saying Senator De Lima is being persecuted.”
“All of it is not true,” Panelo told CNN Philippines.
Markey, along with four other lawmakers, filed Senate Resolution No. 142, which was passed by the US Senate’s foreign relations committee, condemning the Philippine government “for its continued detention” of De Lima.
The resolution said De Lima had been detained “solely on account of her political views and the legitimate exercise of her freedom of expression.”
The bipartisan resolution, adopting amendments by US Sen. Benjamin Cardin, also called on US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions against officials who “orchestrated” De Lima’s arrest and detention, under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
That law allows the US government to sanction human rights abusers by banning them from entering the United States or freezing their US-based assets.
Panelo said he could not understand why the US senators could not appreciate the processes and circumstances behind De Lima’s arrest and detention.
“Why can’t they understand the processes that citizens of the Philippines must go through before they are charged in court and detained. Officials have nothing to do with it. It’s the courts that determine if someone is to be jailed,” he said.
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