US Senate panel passes resolution calling for De Lima's release
Photo shows detained Sen. Leila De Lima.
Facebook/Leila de Lima, File

US Senate panel passes resolution calling for De Lima's release

( - December 12, 2019 - 1:27pm

MANILA, Philippines — A US Senate committee has approved a resolution calling on the Philippine government to drop charges against Sen. Leila de Lima and immediately release the detained lawmaker. 

The resolution’s proponents, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), said the US Senate foreign relations committee passed Senate Resolution 142, which was filed in April 2019.

The resolution declared De Lima a “prisoner of conscience, detained solely on account of her political views and the legitimate exercise of her freedom of expression.” It urged the Philippine government to immediately release De Lima who has been detained since February 2017.

The resolution also condemned the extrajudicial killings linked with the government’s war on drugs, detention of human rights defenders, and the harassment and arrest against journalists, particularly online news outfit Rappler and its CEO Maria Ressa.

“Glad to see Senate Foreign Relations Committee pass @SenMarkey’s resolution, that I proudly cosponsored, calling on the government of the Philippines to ends the troubling detention of Filipina Sen. Leila de Lima and harassment of @rapplerdotcom journalist Maria Ressa,” Durbin wrote on Twitter.

Markey said the approval of the resolution “demonstrates broad support for accountability in [De Lima’s] case and with others.

“For over 1,000 days now, @SenLeiladeLima has languished in prison. Her crime: standing for human rights and good governance in the Philippines,” he said.

Senate Resolution 142 was also co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware).

As in the Philippines, simple resolutions like Senate Resolution 142 only express a chamber's position on an issue. 

According to the US Senate website, “simple resolutions are also used to express the sentiments of a single house, such as offering condolences to the family of a deceased member of Congress, or it may give ‘advice’ on foreign policy or other executive business.”

In a handwritten note, De Lima thanked the US Senate panel.

“I’ve always believed that standing strong for one’s convictions and fighting always for what is true and just, for human rights and humanity have many friends around the globe,” she said.

Last September, US Senate appropriations committee approved a bill titled “Prohibition on Entry,” which will apply to Philippine government officials involved in the “wrongful” imprisonment of De Lima. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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