Senator Leila M. de Lima has chided Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. for his “idiotic” remarks against the US Senate resolution which calls for sanctions against government officials responsible for orchestrating her arrest and prolonged detention.
De Lima, a known prisoner of conscience, said Locsin should know better that the threat of consequences against her persecutors as highlighted in bipartisan Senate Resolution (SR) No. 142 “is perfectly legal and binding insofar as the US is concerned.”
“[T]here is no positive law that says that when the US Senate or any foreign parliament tells the Philippine government to release me that the latter should follow suit. The US Senate does not really expect the PH government to follow its demand as if they had the authority to order it,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 678.
“The US Senators know that. What they are saying is that there are consequences to my continuous persecution by Duterte and his officials. These include applying the Global Magnitsky sanctions,” she added.
Apart from condemning De Lima’s arrest, SR No. 142 also invokes the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act by calling on the US President to sanction her persecutors with a travel ban to the US and the freezing of assets, among others.
Filed by US Senators Edward Markey, Marco Rubio, Richard Durbin, Marsha Blackburn and Chris Coons, it was unanimously passed by all 21 bipartisan committee members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations last Dec. 11.
Days after the unanimous approval, Locsin branded the US resolution as idiotic, arguing that separation of powers and sovereignty of states must be considered in De Lima’s case.
Locsin claimed that even a Philippine Senate resolution is supposedly “not one of the ways of ending a criminal trial” because “there’s only acquittal or conviction or dismissal by a demurrer to evidence.”
In retort, De Lima said Locsin forgets his lesson on criminal procedure and fails to mention other ways of ending a criminal trial, including “withdrawal of the Information, desistance from pursuing the case or failure to prosecute, all by the prosecution.”
“Mr. Locsin, it is not hard to set an innocent person free. All you have to possess is the legal aptitude to be able to weigh the value of the statements of 13 criminal convicts all serving life sentences and other compromised characters, as against US Senators of the most powerful nation in the world and other global personalities and institutions who consistently act in solidarity with me and my causes,” she said.
The lady Senator from Bicol reminded Locsin that as the country’s top diplomat, he is free to regain his brilliant legal mind or choose to continuously identify himself as among the cohorts or enablers of an abusive government.
“You cannot be that naïve or close-minded in failing or refusing to see what the rest of the world sees: that the charges against me are pure fiction, a product of orchestrated lies assembled by certain officials and operators on explicit orders of Duterte as the highlight of his personal vendetta against me,” she said.
Despite her continued vilification by the Duterte regime and his battalion of trolls, De Lima continues to gain support from the international community, especially among human rights organizations and advocates.
Aside from the US government, her illegal detention was also condemned by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, European Parliament, Canadian Parliament, Australian Parliament, Parliamentarians for Global Action, Inter-Parliamentary Union, among many others. (30)