U.S. senators misled over PH officials ban? De Lima: ‘Nakakatawa naman ito’

Mara Cepeda
U.S. senators misled over PH officials ban? De Lima: ‘Nakakatawa naman ito’
Senator Leila de Lima tells Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo her detention is a 'test case for your boss’ attempt to flex his tyrannical ambitions'

MANILA, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila de Lima scoffed at Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo for claiming United States senators were “misled” by the opposition to pass a resolution that would sanction human rights offenders involved in her detention and extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

“Salvador Panelo, the master of disinformation, is calling out critics for allegedly misleading the US senators regarding my case? Nakakatawa naman ito (This is laughable),” the feisty opposition senator said in a dispatch from her jail cell in Camp Crame on Sunday, December 15. 

On Wednesday, December 11, the US Senate foreign relations committee approved Resolution 142  invoking the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. It calls for sanctions on Philippine government officials who are responsible for the extrajudicial killings and the prolonged detention of de Lima. The sanctions include a travel ban to the US and the freezing of assets of the officials involved.

(READ: Dela Rosa says no word yet from U.S. on supposed visa cancellation)

The resolution also urged the Philippine government to stop the harassment and drop all charges against Rappler CEO Maria Ressa.  

US Resolution 142 was filed 5 senators: Edward Markey (Massachusetts), Marco Rubio (Florida), Richard Durbin (Illinois), Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), and Chris Coons (Delaware) in April.  

Malacañang called the US Senate resolution a “brazen” intrusion into the Philippine sovereignty and insisted the De Lima case is “not politically motivated.”

Panelo claimed the Philippine opposition movement against President Rodrigo Duterte as well as “media outlets [that have] been biased against the administration” allegedly “misled” the US foreign relations committee into passing US Resolution 142.  

De Lima, however, told Panelo that her detention is a “test case for your boss’ attempt to flex his tyrannical ambitions.”

“The whole world knows that. Malacañang, backed up with its troll army, is a veritable mill of massive disinformation campaigns. Wala nang naniniwala sa inyo. Kayo-kayo na lang naglolokohan (No one believes you. You are the only ones believing your own lies). We refuse to partake of the poison-infused rhetoric that the President regularly spews. Sa inyo na lang (Keep it). No more!” said the senator.

De Lima, the fiercest critic of Duterte, has been in jail for the past 2 years due to multiple drug charges, which she has repeatedly denied. (READ: 2019: A bad year to be in the opposition)

Despite her detention, De Lima continues to call out the President’s abusive policies, including the bloody war on drugs and his pacifist view on the Chinese militarization of the West Philippine Sea. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.