Sotto thinks US senators ‘misinformed,’ violated own Constitution
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III stood his ground on his belief that US senators might have just been misinformed and violated their own laws when they passed a resolution seeking travel and financial sanctions against officials proven to be behind Senator Leila de Lima’s detention.
“I’d like to think they are misinformed because it’s an affront to our Justice System. It appears to be a violation of their Constitution re the Bill of Attainder,” Sotto told reporters in a message Thursday.
The U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution No. 142 which calls on the Philippine government to immediately release De Lima and asked President Donal Trump to impose sanctions provided under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to government officials proven to “orchestrated” De Lima’s imprisonment.
The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act authorizes the US to impose sanctions—including denying of travel visas and the freezing and forfeiture of US assets—to foreigners proven to have committed human rights violations or acts of significant corruption.
Similar sanctions were sought against De Lima’s accusers and jailers in an amendment earlier introduced by US Senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy to the 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill.
That amendment was included in the 2020 national budget of the US, which was signed by President Donald Trump last month.
The resolution also called for the immediate release of De Lima and the dropping of charges against her.
De Lima, one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fiercest critics, has been detained since February 2017 over alleged drug charges which the opposition senator repeatedly said were “trumped up.”
Sotto further said the approval of the resolution proved that the US entry ban was not included in 2020 national budget of the United State.
“On the other hand, it proves the so-called inclusion in the US 2020 budget was really fake news,” he said.
Malacañang, citing verification made by Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez, already earlier confirmed that the US entry ban against officials proven to be behind De Lima’s imprisonment is included under the signed national budget.
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