Malacañang on Dec. 14, 2019 expressed its “grave concern” on a recently approved United States Senate resolution that calls for the release of detained Sen. Leila de Lima.
Office of the Presidential Spokesperson Facebook
US Senate resolution vs De Lima detention tramples on sovereignty — Palace
Ratziel San Juan ( - December 14, 2019 - 3:17pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Saturday expressed its “grave concern” on a recently approved United States Senate resolution that calls for the release of detained Sen. Leila de Lima.

“It is a brazen and heedless affront against the dignity not only of the Philippine Government but of our country’s sovereignty as well. It is an undisguised and outrageous intrusion to a sovereign state. There can be no excuse for the US Senate Committee not to know that the Philippines has long ceased to be a colony of the United States,” read the post of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson on Facebook.

Senate Resolution 142, entitled “Condemning the Government of the Philippines for its continued detention of Senator Leila De Lima, calling for her immediate release, and for
other purposes” earlier this week was unanimously ordered to be reported with amendments favorably by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

“[T]he Senate condemns the Government of the Philippines for the arrest and detention of human rights defenders and political leaders who exercise their rights to freedom of expression...and the continued detention of Senator Leila De Lima,” read the resolution submitted to the committee in April.

“The Senate considers Senator De Lima to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely on account of her political views and the legitimate exercise of her freedom of expression [and] calls on the Government of the Philippines to immediately release Senator De Lima, drop all charges against her, remove restrictions on her personal and work conditions, and allow her to fully discharge her legislative mandate, especially as Chair of the Committee on Social Justice.”

The resolution also urged the Philippine government to drop all charges against Rappler and its CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa.

However, the Palace said that, contrary to the committee’s findings that the law was being weaponized in the Philippines to suppress media and rights groups, De Lima and Ressa faced “criminal prosecution for transgression of Philippine laws.”

“They were accorded procedural due process in all stages of their criminal prosecution. In every stage of the proceeding, both exercised their constitutional right to due process and to competent counsel of their choice. They continue to avail of all available legal remedies for their defense,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

“Ressa was given provisional liberty by the hearing court while De Lima’s continued detention remains on account of the nature of the crime she is charged with and the court’s finding that the evidence against her is strong.”

The office accused the US Senate of being misinformed and stepping on Philippine sovereignty.

“Intrusion on the sovereign rights of independent countries is abhorrent in civilised societies and anathema to international order,” the statement read.

“While we continue to respect the US Senate as an institution, we however will not allow our sovereignty trampled upon by a few of their members. We hope that probing and educated minds will ultimately prevail and that such misguided and intrusive act shall not tarnish nor diminish the warm relations between our two countries.”

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