Senator Leila M. de Lima has laughed off Duterte administration’s claim that she was “accorded procedural due process” in the prosecution of her trumped-up drug charges in retort to the recent US Senate resolution calling for her immediate release.
De Lima, a prominent political prisoner in the country today, said she finds it very funny that Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo who is a “master of disinformation” could claim that US lawmakers were misled about the trumped-up cases filed against her.
“Salvador Panelo, the master of disinformation, is calling out critics for allegedly misleading US senators regarding my case? Nakakatawa naman ito,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 676.
“Those who are genuinely on the side of truth and justice can never be hoodwinked into believing that we have a fair justice system and a strong vibrant democracy,” she added.
The Duterte administration hit the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for unanimously approving Senate Resolution (SR) No. 142 which calls, among others, for De Lima’s release and dropping all charges against her.
Panelo insisted that the US senators who passed SR No. 142 were only “misled” by reports from opposition members and the media about De Lima’s case because the Senator was accorded procedural due process in all stages of her criminal prosecution.
Last Dec. 11, SR 142, which also called on US President Trump to impose sanctions, such as visa ban and asset freezing in the US, against Philippine officials responsible for De Lima’s arrest and prolonged detention, was passed by 21 bipartisan committee members.
The resolution was filed by Sen. Edward Markey, along with Sens. Marco Rubio, Richard Durbin, Marsha Blackburn, and Chris Coons last April 4. It was also sponsored by Sens. Jeff Merkley, Tina Smith, Patrick Leahy, Brian Schatz, Dianne Feinstein, Benjamin Cardin, and Cory Booker who is running for president in the next US elections.
The former justice secretary reminded Panelo, who is chief presidential legal counsel, that the international community knows that the trumped-up drug charges filed against her is a “test case” for Mr. Duterte to “flex his tyrannical ambitions.”
“Malacañang, backed up with its troll army, is a veritable mill of massive disinformation campaigns. Wala nang naniniwala sa inyo. Kayo-kayo na lang naglolokohan. We refuse to partake of the poison-infused rhetoric that the President regularly spews. Sa inyo na lang. No more!” she said.
De Lima has earned Mr. Duterte’s ire when she initiated a Senate investigation into the unabated spate of extrajudicial killings in the government’s all-out war on drugs, which prompted her unjust and illegal incarceration.
The politically motivated illegal drug trading charges brought up against De Lima were based on manufactured evidence and perjured testimonies of witnesses, including convicted felons, who have an axe to grind against her.
Since trial has begun on her case, at least six judges handling these drug cases against De Lima have either opted for an early retirement or have inhibited themselves. (30)