De Lima chides Guevarra for branding US Senate resolution as ‘trash’

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has chided Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra for downplaying the recent US Senate resolution calling for her immediate release and dropping of charges against her by branding it as “trash” and unlawful.

De Lima, a prisoner of conscience, noted that the US bipartisan resolution does not violate the judicial process in the country because it is merely similar to any domestic or international call for her freedom, only with additional call to sanction her persecutors.

“Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra thinks US Senate Resolution 142 is ‘trash’, and that I should just wait for my trial to finish. That is easy to say for someone not in prison, and who is responsible for the continuation of injustice that is my incarceration based on fabricated charges,” she said.

“Guevarra says US S. Res. 142 asking for my release violates Philippine laws. No, it does not. [I]t just so happened that in the case of the US Senate, the call is backed up with serious potential sanctions that will hurt my persecutors, including Guevarra himself. Hence, it has the punch that Guevarra and others in the Duterte officialdom fear,” she added.

Last Dec. 11, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved Senate Resolution (S. Res) No. 142 calling on the Philippine government to free De Lima and drop politically motivated trumped-up drug charges against her, and also to drop all the charges against Maria Ressa and Rappler.

It also called on the US President to impose sanctions against Philippine officials responsible for De Lima’s persecution, and security forces and government officials who perpetrated extrajudicial killings, as provided in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

In response to the US resolution’s unanimous approval, Guevarra reportedly said that the Philippine government will not heed the call made by American lawmakers to release De Lima and drop the charges against her and Ressa.

Guevarra, who belittled SR No. 142 as “trash” and “non-existent,” further claimed that the US bipartisan resolution was supposedly against the country’s rule of law because it calls for the disruption of the judicial process.

The lady Senator from Bicol reminded Guevarra that he, and not the US Senators, was the one who discarded the rule of law when he allowed the Duterte administration to weaponize the laws against her.

“Like his predecessor, this Secretary of Justice has discarded rule of law when he allowed criminal convicts to stand as state witnesses against me, in violation of the law; when he allowed a null and void information to survive despite its (both the original and amended Information) failure to charge an offense, let alone a drug-related offense, against me;

“When he continues to exclude from prosecution those who appear to be the most guilty, the Bilibid drug lords and Rafael Ragos, just so they can testify against me; when he allows commission of perjury and subornation of perjury against me,” she noted.

US Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) are the main authors of SR No. 142, which was filed as early as April 4. They authored it along with Richard Durbin (D-IL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Chris Coons (D-DE).

As the staunchest critic of Duterte’s drug war, De Lima is unjustly and illegally detained based on trumped-up illegal drug charges fabricated by the administration using perjured and coerced witnesses. (30)

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