Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III criticized the proposal of American senators to ban the Filipino public officials who are behind the detention of Senator Leila De Lima from visiting the US.
According to Sotto, the said US senators Patrick Leahy and Richard Durbin are trying to meddle with the government of the Philippines despite not studying the case filed against De Lima.
“Mga pakialamero hindi naman nila alam ang kaso, she is innocent until proven guilty but those U.S. senators are not judges here in the Philippines,” Sotto said.
Malacanang also opposed the proposal of the US Senators, saying that the Filipinos must feel that they’re being disrespected.
“It seeks to place pressure upon our independent institutions thereby effectively interfering without a nation’s sovereignty. It is an insult to the competence and capacity of our duly constituted authorities as such act makes it appear that this US Senate panel has the monopoly of what is right and just,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
Panelo added that they’re not depriving De Lima of her rights to defend herself from the accusations against her.
“She is being afforder all her rights to due process and has in fact availed of available legal remedies under or procedural rules,” he said.
Meanwhile, opposition Senator Kiko Pangilinan welcomed the move of the two US lawmakers, insisting that the move is not an act of interfering with the Philippine government affairs.
’We do not consider the US Senate’s action as an interference in the affairs of a sovereign state. Human beings everywhere — regardless of ethnicity, nationality, class, religion, or gender — must speak out,” Pangilinan said.