Special joint session likely to focus on length of martial law extension – Senators

UNTV News   •   July 21, 2017   •   2886

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_072017_JOINT SESSIONIMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_072017_JOINT SESSION

Some senators have expressed reservations on the issue of a five-month extension or up to the end of the year for the declaration of martial law.

Senator Joel Villanueva said this is likely to be the biggest issue that will be tackled in the joint session on Saturday.

This might also mean that the issue on the scope of the martial rule will no longer be questioned.

“We did not discuss much about extending the scope of the declaration of martial law. We feel that our officials are ready,” said Sen. Villanueva.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Tito Sotto has the same view on the matter.

“There will likely be a lot of opinions like for another 60-days, because after 60 days, if the [crisis] is not yet quelled, let’s have it for another 60-days. That is likely what others will say,” Sotto said.

Meanwhile, Senator Leila de Lima in a statement said, beyond the 60-day period it may be considered unconstitutional.

In connection with the Congress session on Saturday, according to Sotto, they are now finalizing the rules for deliberation of the request of the president.

They will  limit the time of each lawmaker’s speech and interpellation.

Sotto added that the session will be open to public because the people have the right to know the current situation of the country.

He added that there should be no questioning when it comes to the joint voting of Congress.

This, despite domination of the Lower House in terms of number.

“In the Constitution, in the 4 or 5 times that the votes of Congress are mentioned or decisions of Congress are mentioned, it is only on the issue of martial law that the word jointly is used,” Sotto added.

Amid the questions on joint voting, according to house Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas they will carefully explain the issue among their members. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News and Rescue

De Lima calls on COVID-19 task force to release qualified detainees to decongest prisons

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 2, 2020

Senator Leila de Lima is urging the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to consider releasing qualified detainees in order to decongest prisons and prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL).

In a statement, De Lima said the government should not to forget those behind bars and to protect those working in closed facilities.

She also said that due to the congestion of detention facilities, PDL’s cannot practice social distancing which makes them more at risk in contracting the disease.

Even with the enhanced community quarantine, De Lima said the number of arrested individuals keep piling up which leads detention centers to exceed its full capacity.

“Given the state of our jails and prisons, the infection rate will be catastrophic. We thus offer a solution: decongest our jails and prisons through a systematic release of qualified PDLs on humanitarian grounds,” she said.

The qualifications proposed by the senator are:

  • Elder PDLs – 70 years old and above
  • PDLs with serious illness or disability
  • PDLs detained, pre-conviction, for minor non-violent offenses
  • PDLs convicted for minor non-violent crimes

De Lima also stressed that those who committed heinous crimes should not be among being considered for early release.

“If done properly, we would be able to free up additional resources to improve the nutrition and sanitation in the jails and prisons for the remaining PDLs. This will also ease some pressure on the jail and prison health care facilities,” she said. AAC

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

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