US lawmakers’ support proof of fakeness of drug charges vs me – De Lima

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         Senator Leila M. de Lima has asserted that the unwavering support she is receiving from US lawmakers condemning her continued illegal detention is another strong proof that the drug charges against her by the government are bogus and politically motivated.

          De Lima, a known prisoner of conscience, pointed out that the US senators who denounced her unjust detention and vouched for her integrity “are learned and well-informed statesmen and women” who will not support her if they doubt her innocence.

          “I say with utmost candor that this strong, and resoundingly unanimous and bipartisan support for me and my causes from the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and earlier, from the Appropriations Committee, is further proof of the fakeness of the charges against me,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 675.

          “Kung may natitira pang duda na ako ay inosente, at biktima lamang ng pamumulitika at personal na paghihiganti ng mga tinamaan ng aking pagganap sa aking tungkulin at pagsisilbi sa Bayan nitong nakaraang mahigit sampung taon – burado na po iyon dahil sa malinaw, matapang at matinding suportang ito,” she added.

         Senate Resolution 142, principally authored by Sen. Edward Markey and unanimously passed by 21 bipartisan committee members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, calls on the Philippine government to “immediately release Senator De Lima, drop all charges against her, [and] remove restrictions on her personal and work conditions.”

          The resolution also adopted amendments introduced by US Sen. Benjamin Cardin that involved the call for US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to government officials responsible for orchestrating De Lima’s arrest and prolonged detention, among others.

         Last April 4, Markey filed SR 142, along with Sens. Marco Rubio, Richard Durbin, Marsha Blackburn, and Chris Coons. It was also sponsored by Sens. Jeff Merkley, Tina Smith, Patrick Leahy, Brian Schatz, Dianne Feinstein, Cardin, and Cory Booker.

          “The unanimous support of all the 21 bipartisan members of the US Foreign Relations Committee puts the final nail on the coffin of the blatant lie that Duterte uttered, and shared with certain Philippine Senators during a dinner in 2017, that the intel reports about my alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade came from the US. He lied to the Filipino people to their face,” said De Lima.

          Last Sept. 27, it may also be recalled that the US Senate Appropriations Committee also approved an amendment to the US Fiscal Year 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill that seeks to deny entry to US of any Philippine government official involved in De Lima’s “wrongful imprisonment.” The amendment was filed by Sens. Durbin and Leahy.

          De Lima maintained that top US policy and law makers from both the Democratic and Republican parties are well-aware about the fakeness of the drug charges against her because they have access and are privy to critical and confidential information affecting US relations with other countries.

          “[They] would not set aside their political differences and unanimously go out on a limb to support me, and stake their reputation, if they harbored even a hint of doubt about my innocence,” she said.

          “[They] have access to considerable networks of contacts and sources of information.  Hindi sila tataya para sa isang nakakulong na Senadora mula sa Pilipinas kung may katiting silang duda na baka totoo ang mga paratang sa akin,” she added.

         De Lima said she believes that the US lawmakers have come together to support her not just because of the injustice done to her, “but more importantly because of the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines, and its impact on our democracy.” (30)

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