MANILA – The American senators who passed a resolution calling for the release of detained opposition Sen. Leila de Lima’s were misled by critics of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
Panelo believed that these lawmakers know nothing about Leila de Lima’s illegal drug trade case.
“Apparently they have been misled by the reports coming from the opposition, as well as media outlets who had been biased against the administration,” Panelo said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
Panelo added that the opposition senator was afforded due process as he also urged the US senators backing her to study the Philippines’ legal system to avoid making wrong comments.
“Eh siguro dapat pag-aralan nila kung ano ang prosesong dinadaanan natin, para hindi sila nagkakamali at hindi sila dapat nakikinig sa mga sabi-sabi, iyong mga nababasa nila sa diyaryo, iyong mga natatanggap nilang mga liham kung saan-saan galing at nagsasabing si Sen. De Lima ay pini-persecute – hindi totoo iyon,” he added.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, meanwhile, said it that was “highly impudent” for the US Senate committee to pass such a resolution.
“To try to strong-arm the government into freeing Senator De Lima and dropping charges against Maria Ressa is infringing on our country’s legal process and system, to which they have no say whatsoever,” Andanar said in a statement.
US Senate Resolution 142 claimed that De Lima is “a prisoner of conscience, detained solely on account of her political views and the legitimate exercise of her freedom of expression.”
De Lima was accused of accepting payoffs from convicted drug lords during her time as justice chief and has been detained in Camp Crame since February 2017. She has repeatedly denied allegations./PN