DECEMBER 13, 2019 — The Philippines has protested a resolution passed in the United States supporting critics of President Rodrigo Duterte, describing the measure as “ultimately unhelpful” in the two countries relations, said a statement from Manila’s mission in Washington.
The Philippine embassy also described the US Senate resolution calling for the release of detained Senator Leila de Lima as an “undue interference” in the country’s domestic affairs.
This is not the first time American lawmakers have dipped their hands in another sovereign state’s internal affairs. US senators have also threw their support to protests in Hong Kong.
“Senate Resolution 142 is ultimately unhelpful in this regard not only because it may be potentially interpreted as posing undue
interference in our domestic affairs,” the embassy said in a statement.
“More importantly, because it calls on the Philippine government to pursue actions that undermine the rule of law, which is the very principle that the United States professes to uphold and stand for,” the statement added.
The US Senate’s foreign relations resolution condemned the Philippine government for “state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings by police and other armed individuals,” pertaining to Duterte’s war against illegal drugs which counts de Lima as one of its staunch critics.
The US Senate panel also recognized de Lima as a “prisoner of conscience, detained solely on account of her political views and the legitimate exercise of her freedom and expression.”
It also called for the protection of the freedom of the press as it rallied behind online news website Rappler.com’s Maria Ressa.
The Senate Resolution was co-sponsored by Democrats and Republicans alike.
“[I’m] glad to see Senate Foreign Relations Committee pass @SenMarkey’s resolution, that I proudly cosponsored, calling on the government of the Philippines to end the troubling detention of Filipina Senator Leila de Lima and harassment of @rapplerdotcom journalist Maria Ressa,” Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said on Twitter.
De Lima has been in detention at the PNP Custodial Center since February 2017 on charges of involvement in illegal drug trade.
De Lima was a former justice secretary in the past administration before she won seat in the Philippine Senate in 2016.
Before the Cabinet position, she was human rights commission chair who led an inquiry into the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS), which were believed to be responsible for more than 1,400 extrajudicial killings in the southern city where Duterte was mayor for more than 20 years.
When Duterte rose to the presidency in 2016, he expanded his law and order policy in Davao, launching a vicious war on illegal drugs at the national scale. (Christian Deiparine/MM)