Dispatch from Crame No. 685: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s remarks on the US travel ban


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Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo does not seem to understand the US Appropriations bill that was just signed into law by the US President. Panelo says he hopes the US Secretary of State is more properly informed than the US Senators who introduced the amendment on the US travel ban, an amendment that was unanimously approved at the Committee level and passed by the whole US Congress.

Panelo is sorely mistaken in his belief that they can ask Pompeo for a reconsideration in the implementation of the federal law. He cannot. Both the US Congress and the US President have already determined the fact of my persecution, and that this determination is already part of the federal law of the US and can only be reversed by repeal or an amendatory law.

What is left for the US State Department to determine is the identity of my persecutors who will be subjected to the US travel ban, not whether or not indeed I was persecuted by these individuals. While the former will be subject to the information the State Department already has in hand and will further obtain from various agency sources, the latter issue is already final, regardless of Panelo’s already exhausting protestations.

Malacañang cannot still get over the fact that no one gets away with injustice and violating human rights. No one gets away with impunity and tyranny. Duterte, Panelo, and all of Philippine DDS officialdom should realize by now how their happy days are almost at an end.

It is just a matter of time before Europe, Canada, and Australia follow suit with their own Magnitsky measures and anti-human rights violator laws. When that time comes, this regime will be properly identified with that part of the world with which it shares values — those ruled by corrupt and repressive one-party governments and those controlled by bureaucracy-embedded criminal organizations.

The US travel ban has put this regime in its proper place in the world. And it is only fitting that Duterte himself has made it his foreign policy to warm up to those countries to whom he wants his government to belong, while repeatedly spurning the EU, US, Canada, and other democracies of the world. This is his and his sycophants’ just desserts.

If these DDS officials want to be identified with the free world and be treated as its citizens, they cannot act like tyrants and criminals. If they want to be citizens of Rome, they cannot behave like barbarians. It is as simple as that.

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 685 here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_no._685)

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