De Lima balks at comparison to 3 senators
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima said her situation must not be compared with that of the former senators who were detained because of charges that they had pocketed pork barrel funds, as she defended the resolution of US lawmakers calling for her release.
De Lima, who is detained on what she calls trumped up drug charges, made the statement after Senate President Vicente Sotto III questioned claims that the act of the American legislators’ resolution was a matter of solidarity.
‘Solidarity my foot’
“Solidarity my foot! Did they do that for former [Senate President Juan Ponce] Enrile and Senators [Bong] Revilla and [Jinggoy] Estrada?” Sotto said on Twitter.
He added that if they wanted solidarity, then the Philippine Senate should have a resolution telling the United States to allow all immigrants into their country.
Sotto, along with Senators Panfilo Lacson and Gregorio Honasan, have filed their own resolution seeking to rebuke the US Senate and House resolutions on De Lima as this constituted “interference and intervention on a purely domestic matter.”
De Lima, in a statement, said Sotto seemed to had missed the point and said there seemed to be global consensus that her situation was not fair.
She said the disparity between the response to her plight and those of the senators implicated in the pork barrel scheme showed that the US lawmakers “only choose or dare to act in solidarity with, and fight for the causes, of those they regard as true victims of injustice and political prosecution.”
She noted that similar calls or expressions of concern had been made by members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, European Union, Parliamentarians for Global Action, Australian and Canadian Parliaments.
“Verily, with many other reputable organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Liberal International and the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats, consistently standing by me, it will not be presumptuous to assert that there is a global consensus about the unjustness of my situation, something that eludes the lens of some of my very own colleagues in the Philippine Senate,” she said.
According to her, her situation is different from that of Enrile, Revilla and Estrada.
The former senators did not experience what she did under the Duterte administration, De Lima said.
She said President Rodrigo Duterte had already judged her before the allegations against her could be investigated.
The three senators, she said, did not experience having their name disrespected when they were investigated in the Senate, unlike what she experienced during the House inquiry into the claims against her.
“Can you considered this government’s treatment of me to be fair, humane and just?” she added.
She said she appreciated foreign lawmakers for understanding her plight and having compassion for it.
“I hope my colleagues in the Senate would be the same. I hope they show respect and understanding for a fellow senator,” she said.
But Lacson said on Twitter that the Philippine senators’ measure against the US resolutions was not about De Lima.
He said the Senate resolution was about respect for the independence of the Philippines that had been trampled upon by the American lawmakers who were seemingly interfering in the judicial system.
“It’s not about expressing a lack of respect for Sen. De Lima,” he said.
Sotto, in an interview over dwIZ, said he would have been fine with it if the US senators had only expressed an opinion in favor of De Lima.
But to put it into a resolution and to seek the imprimatur of the US Senate was a different matter, he said.
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