Muntinlupa RTC allows election furlough for De Lima

Maris Federez   •   May 7, 2019   •   1459

File photo: Senator Leila de Lima

The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 has allowed Senator Leila de Lima to vote in the Midterm Elections on Monday, May 13.

De Lima will be accompanied by her police escorts from the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame to Sta Rita School in Parañaque City.

The Court gave de Lima two hours to vote from 12 noon to 2:00 in the afternoon.

The Court, however, did not allow that her to be recorded on video while voting nor to be interviewed by the members of the media.

De Lima will be the one to shoulder the expenses in going to Parañaque City and in returning to Camp Crame. (with details from Mai Bermudez)

Malacañang denounces US Senate’s ‘intrusion’ on Phl sovereignty

Maris Federez   •   January 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration has denounced what it calls an intrusion of the US Senate to the country’s sovereignty.

This is in connection with the resolution filed before the upper chamber of the US Congress that urges the Philippine government to free Senator Leila de Lima from detention.

Malacañang said that while it respects the US Senate, it seems that some of its members were misguided.

The office of the President particularly mentioned US Democrat Senator Edward Markey who filed Senate Resolution 142 on Wednesday (US Time) condemning the Philippine government for the on-going detention of Senator de Lima.

Markey is the third US Senator whom the Philippine government had banned entry to the country last week, aside from senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy.

He maintained that they will not be silenced on the measures being taken by the Philippine government.

One of the provisions in the resolution called on US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions against security forces and government officials involved in extrajudicial killings.

Markey said this is in accordance with the “Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act” – a law in the US that allows the US Executive Branch to impose travel restrictions and sanctions against human rights violators, as also asserted by Senator Durbin.

“The Duterte regime should stop threatening the travel of Americans and so many others who travel between our nations and instead ensure a quick and credible trial for Senator de Lima or simply do the right thing and release her,” Dublin said.

The United States Congress official website stated that the US Senate has approved the resolution.

Malacañang, on the other hand, expressed dismay over the move of the US Senate, saying that if the resolution gets implemented, it would be a clear intrusion on the sovereignty of the Philippines.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Duterte administration has, time and again, reiterated that De Lima’s detention for drug-related cases is in accordance with the law as it was the Court who made such ruling.

“Yung mga statements na ganiyan at resolutions na ganiyan, we deem to be pangingialam. Parang dinidiktahan tayo dun sa kung papaano patakbuhin ang justice system natin. Independent tayo. Sovereign state tayo. So don’t meddle in our sovereignty,” he insisted.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, meanwhile, said that the Duterte administration trusts the US government to be more perceptive in acting on matters pertaining to the sovereignty of another country.

“The Palace, however, trusts that agents of the Executive Branch of the US Government are more discerning and circumspect in the areas of diplomacy and sovereign respect and will act in accordance with credible information and supporting evidence,” Panelo’s statement read.

Senator de Lima, on the other hand, also issued a statement thanking the three US Senators for their support.

“I sincerely thank the granite resolve of Senators Durbin, Markey, Rubio, Blackburn, Coons, Leahy and Cardin, and the rest of the US Senate for standing strong and firm for the larger truths behind my persecution,” de Lima said.

President Donald Trump has 120 days to decide on the said resolution. — (from the report of Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

US may not easily implement ban on officials behind De Lima’s detention – DFA

Maris Federez   •   December 24, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin Jr. believes that the US will not easily implement the ban on government officials who were involved in the arrest and detention of Senator Leila de Lima.

On his twitter post, Sec. Locsin said he respects the rights of the US government not to issue a visa or bar any government official who was behind de Lima’s detention as the Philippines is doing the same as one aspect of its sovereignty.

“The only way for accused to go free is after trial; if convicted after pardon. Resolutions by legislature/ executive—native or alien—are of no moment. US can refuse visas to anyone it wants for any reason; the PH deported a nun in that way. It is an aspect of sovereignty,” his tweet reads.

This, following US President Donald Trump’s move of signing the 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill wherein the US Secretary of State was given such authority in one of its provisions.

Section 7022 of the measure states that the US Secretary shall submit to the concerned congressional committees a plan to implement corresponding sanctions on gross violation of human rights” particularly “unjust or wrongful detention,”  including those of American citizens and nationals.

Democrat Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy who have earlier said that De Lima’s detention was politically motivated introduced the amendment which the US Senate Appropriations Committee passed in September.

Locsin, however, said that the US Justice and State Departments may not exercise that granted authority for higher reasons of the state like the Indo-Pacific strategy.

The US government is pushing for the Indo-Pacific strategy particularly in countries in Asia for unrestricted trade flow, freedom of navigation, and respect to the rule of law. –(with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

De Lima supporters launch committee for her freedom

Maris Federez   •   August 26, 2019

Supporters of Senator Leila de Lima on Monday launched the Committee for the Freedom of Leila De Lima.

This aims to intensify the public’s awareness on the senator’s condition as a prisoner of conscience.

The lawmaker has been in detention for more than two years for illegal drug-related cases.

“One important characteristic of this committee in what’s happening is were making this a non-partisan issue, of the freedom of Sen. Leila. Any ability to participate as a senator should not be about politics,” Prof. Tony La Viña, one of the conveners, said.

The group is supported by former President Benigno Aquino III who had once been a senator himself, as well as, six former members of the Senate, like senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Rene Saguisag.

The group is appealing for De Lima to be allowed to vote on proposed bills and resolutions, attend Senate sessions and public hearings from her cell at Camp Crame in Quezon City by way of teleconferencing.

The said measure was first proposed by then-Senator Nene Pimentel during President Gloria Magapagal’s term when Senator Trillanes was in detention.

It was not, however, approved by some senators during that time.

“Kaya noong nanalo na si President Aquino nagbago ang ihip ng hangin. Suddenly gumugulong ano, pinayagan. Pero sinesetup pa lang siya noong eventually pinayagan akong makalaya at mabigyan ng amnesty. So hindi na natuloy iyong mga ganoong paraan [So when President Aquino won the elections, the situation had changed. Suddenly it was approved. But they were still setting it up when I was eventually freed and given amnesty. So it did not push through],” Trillanes said.

The former lawmakers have also expressed support for Senate Resolution 51 filed by Senators Panfilo Lacson and Franklin Drilon that seeks to allow De Lima to attend sessions thru teleconferencing.

They said there are important issues that need the opinion of the minority in which De Lima belongs.

The lady senator is facing a case of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading inside the New Bilibid Prisons while she was still the secretary of the Department of Justice. (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

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