Senators rebuke American lawmakers: Philippines no longer US colony
Saying the country is no longer a United States colony, three Philippine senators have filed a resolution seeking to rebuke American lawmakers for insulting Philippine sovereignty and interfering in its affairs by calling for Sen. Leila de Lima’s release.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Gregorio Honasan II on Wednesday filed the resolution against the US Senate and House measures, which condemn De Lima’s continued detention on drug charges and seek the dropping of charges against online news website Rappler and its chief executive Maria Ressa.
Both the US Senate and House resolutions describe De Lima, a fierce critic of President Duterte, as a “prisoner of conscience, detained solely on account of her political views and the legitimate exercise of her freedom of expression.”
“It is submitted that the said resolutions are highly inappropriate and unbefitting considering that the Philippines is no longer a vassal or a colony of the United States of America, but a sovereign state and a member of the family of nations governed by its own municipal laws and the generally accepted principles of international law,” the senators said.
“Considering that criminal cases against both Sen. Leila de Lima and Ms Maria Ressa are already filed in court and the judicial process against them are under way, the government cannot do anything but to let the wheels of justice takes its course,” they said.
The Philippine lawmakers also pointed out that despite her detention, De Lima has been able to function as a senator.
In Ressa’s case, she had faced arrest for cyberlibel and for the violation of tax and antidummy laws, and not for criticizing the administration, they said.
But Sen. Risa Hontiveros came to the American lawmakers’ defense.
“Let us not confuse international solidarity with foreign intervention,” Hontiveros said.
“We in the Philippines believe in due process and freedom of the press,” she added.
Malacañang deplored the US resolutions and accused the American legislators of meddling in Philippine affairs.
The US Senate resolution was introduced by Democrats Edward Markey, Christopher Coons and Richard Durbin, and Republicans Marco Rubio and Marsha Blackburn.
The House resolution was introduced by representatives and Democrats Jackie Speier, James McGovern, Henry Johnson, Jamie Raskin, Brad Sherman and Lloyd Doggett II.
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