The newly passed US Senate resolution urging the release of opposition senator Leila de Lima and the dropping of charges against journalist and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa who had been critical of the Duterte administration has been called “idiotic” by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
“Idiotic. Even a Philippine Senate resolution is not one of the ways of ending a criminal trial; there’s only acquittal or conviction or dismissal by a demurrer to evidence,” the Philippines’ top diplomat tweeted Sunday.
“But a US Senate resolution? Aside from separation of powers there’s the independence of nations,” he pointed out.
Senate Resolution No. 142 passed by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations condemned the arrest of De Lima and called for her release.
It also slammed the “harassment, arrest, and unjustified judicial proceedings against the media and journalists, in particular, the proceeding against Rappler and Maria Ressa.”
The bipartisan resolution also called on US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act against Philippine government officials responsible for “orchestrating” De Lima’s arrest and those responsible for extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
The law allows the US President to block or revoke US visas and to freeze US-based property and interests in property of foreign persons who have engaged in extrajudicial killings or other rights abuses, as well as government officials who are engaged in or responsible for significant acts of corruption.
Meanwhile, De Lima has brushed-off the statements of presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo against the resolution. Panelo said US senators who passed the measure should look at the cases against De Lima and Ressa with “objectivity and cautious discernment.”
“Mr.Panelo, my case is a test case for your boss’ attempt to flex his tyrannical ambitions,” De Lima said in a statement. “The whole world knows that. Malacañang, backed up with its troll army, is a veritable mill of massive disinformation campaigns.” (Source: INQUIRER.net)