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3 senators file resolution to rebuke US lawmakers for âinterferenceâ
This file photo shows Senate President Vicente 'Tito' Sotto III.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File

3 senators file resolution to rebuke US lawmakers for ‘interference’

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - April 11, 2019 - 10:37am

MANILA, Philippines — Three senators, including Senate President Vicente Sotto III, filed a resolution to rebuke some members of the United States Congress for supposedly meddling with the country's affairs following their condemnation of Sen. Leila de Lima's detention and journalist Maria Ressa's arrest. 

Senate Resolution 1037, filed by Sotto and Sens. Panfilo Lacson and Gringo Honasan late Wednesday, expresses “the strong sense of the Philippine Senate to rebuke, for being an affront to the sovereignty of the republic of the Philippines and an undue interference on its judicial process, proposed resolution nos. 233 and 142 filed by some members of the United States Congress.”

Both US House Resolution 233 and Senate Resolution 142 sought to condemn the Philippine government for the continued detention of De Lima and called for her immediate release.

US Senate Resolution also called for the dropping of charges against Ressa and her online news company, Rappler. The resolution likewise highlighted human rights concerns in the Philippines and urged the Duterte administration to respect freedom of expression.

‘Interference’

The resolution filed by Philippine senators said the US resolutions are “undermining the independence of the Philippine government and being an undue interference to the sovereignty of our nation” as it noted that the calls of American legislators cannot be made without “encroaching and interfering on the exercise by the judiciary of its judicial power.”

“Considering the tenor of the resolutions of both houses of the US Congress, the same can be considered an interference and intervention on a purely domestic within the authority of the Republic of the Philippines, a sovereign state and equal in stature to that of the United States iof America,” the three Philippine senators said.

Senate Resolution 1037 also stressed the criminal cases against De Lima and Ressa are already filed in the court and the judicial processes against them are underway.

It likewise noted that De Lima is still allowed to deliver her function as a senator despite being incarcerated.

Malacañang on Monday called the resolution of the US senators an “unwelcome intrusion to our country’s domestic legal processes and an outrageous interference with our nation’s sovereignty.”

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo also urged the lawmakers to “mind their own business” as “their country has enough problems and they should focus on them.”

‘Incidental’

In a separate statement, Lacson stressed De Lima and Ressa are “but incidental to the intent of this resolution.”

“They are entitled to fair justice and judgment by the courts handling their cases,” Lacson said.

He added: “But what we need to point out is that supremacism has no place in a civilized world regardless of race, color and status in wealth and power.”

A staunch critic of the Duterte administration and its ferocious anti-narcotics campaign, De Lima was arrested on Feb. 24, 2017 on what she called “trumped-up” charges that she said were part of the president’s vendetta.

After being rearrested in February on different charges and then freed on bail, veteran journalist Ressa was rearrested in March on charges that she and her colleagues at online news site Rappler violated rules on foreign ownership of media.

LEILA DE LIMA MARIA RESSA PHILIPPINE SENATE US CONGRESS
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