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US resolution an affront to PH sovereignty – Palace

/ 04:16 AM December 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Saturday described as an affront to Philippine sovereignty the US Senate committee’s approval of a resolution calling for the release of Sen. Leila de Lima and urging US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on people behind her detention.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo called on US senators to be objective and said the Palace was gravely concerned over the move of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which it considered an intrusion into Philippine affairs.

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“It is a brazen and heedless affront against the dignity not only of the Philippine government but of our country’s sovereignty as well. It is an undisguised and outrageous intrusion to a sovereign state. There can be no excuse for the US Senate committee not to know that the Philippines has long ceased to be a colony of the United States,” Panelo said in a statement.

Weaponizing rule of law

Aside from coming to the defense of De Lima, one of the President’s most vocal critics, US Senate Resolution No. 142 also sought the dropping of tax charges against Rappler chief Maria Ressa and described her arrest as part of a pattern to weaponize the rule of law against the media.

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Panelo said the resolution had no factual and legal basis and showed the US senators’ “prejudice.”

“We call on these US senators to remove the blinders in their eyes and look at the De Lima and Ressa cases not with jaundiced eyes but with studied objectivity and cautious discernment,” he said.

“They should respect the judicial processes of our country in the same manner we respect theirs. Among sovereign states there must be equal and mutual respect. Intrusion on the sovereign rights of independent countries is abhorrent in civilized societies and anathema to international order,” he added.

Visa canceled

Meanwhile, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa said he had not received any official communication from the United States about the alleged cancellation of his US visa.

Dela Rosa issued the statement when sought for response to a website report that said his US visa had been canceled since May pursuant to the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, which imposes sanctions on individuals found violating human rights. Dela Rosa surmised that he would learn about the status of his visa should he travel to the United States again.

“I am not sure because I have not received any official communication coming from US authorities,” Dela Rosa said in a text message when asked if his US visa had been revoked.

“Maybe to confirm it is for me to travel to the US once again and find out if I would be denied entry,” he added.

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But he said he had no plans so far to travel to the United States.

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TAGS: Drug war, Leila de Lima, Salvador Panelo, US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
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