US ban vs De Lima jailers an issue of sovereignty – DOJ chief
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra believes that the US ban on the entry of Philippine officials behind the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima is an issue of “sovereignty and non-interference among co-equal nations.”
“I will leave it to our Foreign Affairs secretary to comment on this development,” Guevarra told reporters Monday when asked to comment on the development.
“This issue is much bigger than the prosecution of Senator De Lima on drug charges under Philippine laws. This involves issues of sovereignty and non-interference among co-equal nations,” he stressed.
US President Donald Trump has signed the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill 2020 which contains an amendment that allows the US Secretary of State to stop officials who were allegedly involved in De Lima’s “wrongful imprisonment.”
Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy authored the amendment which the US Senate Appropriations Committee passed in September.
On Dec. 17, De Lima, who has been detained for drug-related charges since February 2017, cited the initial list of those responsible for her arrest and detention, which include the following:
- President Rodrigo Duterte
- presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo
- blogger Mocha Uson
- blogger Sass Rogando Sasot
- blogger RJ Nieto, or Thinking Pinoy
- Former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
- former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II
- Solicitor General Jose Calida
- Public Attorneys’ Office chief Persida Acosta
- Sandra Cam, board member of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office
- Dante Jimenez, chairman of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC)
- Oriental Mindoro Rep. Rey Umali
- former Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas
Guevarra was not included in the list, but he said: “I don’t give a damn s*** if i’m included in the US list. I’m the one who has to answer to my conscience.”
De Lima has denied the charges against her, saying they were fabricated in retaliation for her fierce criticism of Duterte’s brutal war on drugs and the monitoring of his human rights record when she was still the chief of the Commission on Human Rights starting in 2008.
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