De Lima tells Locsin: US senators’ reso on EJK, rights abuses in PH ‘legal, binding’
MANILA, Philippines — Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Monday turned the tables on Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. for calling as “idiotic” a US Senate resolution calling for her immediate release.
“You cannot be that naïve or close-minded in failing or refusing to see what the rest of the world sees: that the charges against me are pure fiction, a product of orchestrated lies assembled by certain officials and operators on explicit orders of Duterte as the highlight of his personal vendetta against me,” de Lima said in a dispatch from Camp Crame.
De Lima, a staunch critic of the Duterte administration, has been in detention inside Camp Crame – headquarters of the Philippine National Police – since February 2017 on drug charges, which the lady senator has repeatedly denied and branded as “trumped-up.”
In a tweet over the weekend, Locsin said “(E)ven a Philippine Senate resolution is not one of the ways of ending a criminal trial; there’s only acquittal or conviction or dismissal by a demurrer to evidence.”
“But a US Senate resolution? Aside from separation of powers there’s the independence of nations,” he pointed out.
But De Lima argued that there are other ways to end a criminal trial.
“Sec. Locsin said only an acquittal, a conviction, or the granting of a demurrer can end a criminal trial. He forgets his criminal procedure and fails to mention withdrawal of the Information, desistance from pursuing the case or failure to prosecute, all by the prosecution, as other ways of ending a criminal trial,” she said.
The detained senator explained the US Senate does not really expect the Philippine government to follow its demand as if they had the authority to order it.
What the US senators only wanted to point out, de Lima said, is that “there are consequences to my continuous persecution by Duterte and his officials” including the entry ban and and freezing and forfeiture of US assets.
The resolution, approved by the Senate committee on foreign relations, called on US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act against Philippine government officials responsible for “orchestrating” De Lima’s arrest and those responsible for extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
The US law authorizes the US President to block or revoke US visas and to freeze US-based property and interests in property of foreign persons who have engaged in extrajudicial killings or other rights abuses, as well as government officials who are engaged in or responsible for significant acts of corruption.
“Locsin knows or ought to know that this threat of consequences is perfectly legal and binding insofar as the US is concerned,” De Lima went on.
De Lima said the foreign affairs secretary could still choose whether to “continuously identify” himself as “among the cohorts or enablers, or regain your brilliant legal mind.”
“I am sure the former is already tiresome, as you yourself must admit that among them, you are in the company of idiots,” she said.
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