De Lima disputes Bersamin: ‘US senators’ move to ban my oppressors not a PR tour de force’
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Leila de Lima disputed on Wednesday the pronouncement of Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin that the proposal of the United States Senate appropriations committee to ban Filipino officials who are behind her detention from setting foot in the country is “obviously a PR tour de force” and an act of “interference.”
“No, Sir. It’s nothing like that. It’s about standing up, in concrete terms, for human rights and accountability. It’s a matter of truth and justice,” De Lima said in a statement.
“These principles, which are revered in democratic societies like the U.S., are being discarded like garbage by the increasingly authoritarian Duterte regime,” the opposition senator said.
The US Senate committee approved on September 27 an amendment to a bill seeking to deny entry to Filipinos behind what it calls “wrongful imprisonment” of De Lima, who has been detained since February 2017 as she faces drug charges for her alleged involvement in the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison when she was Justice secretary.
De Lima has since denied the accusation and claimed it was motivated by political persecution as she has been a vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“I hope that our functionaries, especially those whose very mandate is to dispense justice in this country and those who directly deal with the diplomatic community, are sensitive and clear-minded enough to appreciate the dimensions and underlying sentiments behind the concerted efforts abroad to stand by me and my causes,” said De Lima.
The detained senator said it is “unfortunate” that Bersamin “would choose to downplay as a mere PR feat the clear-cut significance of the US senators’ action.”
“Perhaps, a self-reflection on the part of the institutions with varying roles in facilitating Duterte’s vendetta against me, is called for,” she added. /jpv
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