Palace tells EU parliament, 'Our democracy works'
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang joined Filipino senators in lambasting the European Parliament for its resolution calling for the release of Senator Leila De Lima and dropping of drug charges against her.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella reminded the body of European lawmakers to respect the Philippines as a sovereign nation with a fully-functioning democracy.
"We remind everyone, including international bodies to allow us to deal with our domestic challenges without unwarranted foreign interference," he said in a statement sent on Friday, March 17.
While the European Parliament may feel it has a "sovereign obligation" to make such a call, the same drug war that led to De Lima's arrest has brought about "newfound peace and order," claimed Abella.
"It is vital to recognize that the Philippines is a sovereign state, and that the people welcome the newfound peace and order they now enjoy. Our democracy works," said Abella.
As in a previous statement, Abella insisted De Lima's detention over drug charges is not politically motivated and was the result of a fair process.
"Her arrest strictly followed legal procedures, and [she was] given the chance to explain and rebut allegations against her. The Muntinlupa Regional Tria Court – which is both independent and competent – then found probable cause which led to the issuance of a warrant for the incumbent senator's arrest," said the spokesman.
Malacañang insisted again that unlawful killings being linked to the drug war are not the work of government but of criminals.
He linked Vice President Leni Robredo's recent video message on extrajudicial killings to the supposedly skewed perception of the drug war among European lawmakers.
"In direct contradiction to the Vice President's claims on the UN video, the majority of common people actually feel safer on the streets and more hopeful economically after [President Duterte] came into power," said Abella.
He claims that "powerful interests" have managed to "distort Philippine reality" to further their own agenda.
While some senators, including Duterte ally Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III condemned the EU resolution, senators who belong to the same party as De Lima welcome it as proof that other nations still "care" about the Philippines.
De Lima herself said she felt "heartened" by the resolution.
Aside from calling for De Lima's release, the European lawmakers also oppose efforts to reinstate death penalty in the Philippines. – Rappler.com