Detained Senator and suspected drug criminal Leila de Lima has called Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. “naïve” and “close-minded” for not respecting a recently released US Senate resolution calling for her immediate release.
Secretary Locsin had called the resolution “idiotic”. While the DFA Chief’s strong choice of word was certainly unique, his reaction otherwise echoed sentiments of other Filipino political figures who felt that the Western nation had greatly overstepped.
However, Senator de Lima is outraged that the Republic of the Philippines is not cowing to the demands of the United States.
“You cannot be that naïve or close-minded in failing or refusing to see what the rest of the world sees: that the charges against me are pure fiction, a product of orchestrated lies assembled by certain officials and operators on explicit orders of Duterte as the highlight of his personal vendetta against me,” de Lima said in a dispatch from her cell in Camp Crame.
Secretary Lacson, through a tweet, said that even the Philippine Senate does not have the power to end a criminal trial.
“But a US Senate resolution? Aside from separation of powers there’s the independence of nations,” he continued, pointing out the obvious infringements committed by the United States.
Senator de Lima, however, said that the US government was within its power to exercise their opinion and show that “there are consequences to my continuous persecution by Duterte and his officials.” These consequences include entry bans and the freezing and forfeiture of US assets.
De Lima said that this “threat of consequences” is perfectly legal and binding insofar as the US is concerned”.
The Same US Senate Resolution called for the government to end their “harassment” of self-style journalist Maria Ressa. However, the document failed to mention the crimes leveled against both women – fostering the worst drug problem in New Bilibid prison for de Lima and tax fraud plus libel for Ressa. Instead, the American Senators chose to portray the suspected criminals as martyrs being crucified for daring to speak up against the oppressive Duterte regime. Obviously, their sentiments are shared by the two “vocal critics”, but not by many other Filipinos who still support overwhelmingly President Duterte.