By Jonathan Hicap
Six lawmakers from the US House of Representatives have called for the immediate release of Sen. Leila de Lima from detention.
California Rep. Jackie Speier introduced House Resolution (HR) 233 “[c]ondemning the Government of the Philippines for its continued detention of Senator Leila de Lima, calling for her immediate release, and for other purposes” last March 14.
“The House of Representatives condemns the Government of the Philippines for its role in state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings by police and other armed individuals as part of the ‘War on Drugs,’” it said.
It also condemned “the arrest and detention of human rights defenders and political leaders who exercise their rights to freedom of expression and the continued detention of Senator Leila de Lima.”
The resolution, co-sponsored by Reps. James P. McGovern of Massachusetts, Henry Johnson of Georgia, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Brad Sherman of California, and Lloyd Doggett of Texas, was referred to the US House Foreign Affairs Committee.
De Lima has been in detention for over two years for charges of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading. She is facing three cases in Muntinlupa courts. She was taken into custody in February 2017 after a court issued a warrant of arrest.
US Sen. Bob Menendez, a ranking member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also called for the release of De Lima and other women political prisoners. Sen. Edward Markey also expressed concern about the senator’s detention.
In the resolution, the six US lawmakers consider De Lima as a “prisoner of conscience” detained for her political views and urged the Philippine government to drop the charges and release her.