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Palace hits ‘brazen, intrusive bullying’ by the US Senate

/ 05:42 AM January 11, 2020

Malacañang has expressed disappointment over a resolution by the US Senate urging US President Donald Trump to sanction Filipino officials tagged in Sen. Leila de Lima’s continued detention, including prohibiting them from setting foot in the United States and freezing their assets there.

“Such actions are brazen and intrusive to the dignity of an independent, democratic and sovereign state such as ours,” said presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

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In a statement on Friday, Panelo insisted that the Philippine government would “not be bullied by any foreign country or by its officials, especially by misinformed and gullible politicians who grandstand at our expense.”

De Lima on Friday expressed her gratitude to the US Senate for adopting a bipartisan resolution urging the Trump administration to sanction Philippine government officials behind her detention and for the ballooning extrajudicial killings in the country attributed to President Duterte’s brutal drug war.

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De Lima described the approval of US Senate Resolution No. 142 as a “watershed in the history of keeping democracy and human rights accountability in the country and the role the US play in ensuring it.”

She lauded the “granite resolve” of the American lawmakers, led by US Senators Marco Rubio, Dick Durbin, Chris Coons, Marsha Blackburn, Patrick Leahy and Benjamin Cardin, and thanked them for “standing strong and firm for the larger truths behind my persecution.”

De Lima had claimed that her indictment for drug trading was meant to silence her and intimidate the political opposition.

In December, Trump signed the 2020 national budget, which includes a rider banning those involved in De Lima’s plight from entering the United States as long as there is credible information against them.

In retaliation, Mr. Duterte—whom de Lima named as one of those responsible for her detention—banned three US senators responsible for the said provision.

He also threatened to impose a visa requirement on American citizens entering the Philippines should the United States make good on its ban on Filipino officials.

On Friday, Panelo stressed that while the Philippines respects the US Senate as an institution, its members are “prejudiced, misguided.”

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TAGS: Malacañang, Sen. Leila de Lima, Trump, US Senators
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