De Lima dismayed by Sotto’s rebuke of US senators who sought her release from detention

By Mario Casayuran

Detained opposition Senator Lelia de Lima expressed disappointment Saturday over the failure or refusal of Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III to see the finer points on several American lawmakers’ resolution on her incarceration and the charges against journalist Maria Ressa.

Senator Leila de Lima (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Leila de Lima (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)

‘’I’m disappointed that SP Sotto doesn’t seem to get the point,’’ de Lima said when Sotto asked the US legislators that did they not show their solidarity after former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Jose ‘’Jinggoy’’ Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. were detained on plunder charges.

‘’I hope SP (Senate President) Sotto and others stop comparing my situation with that of the three PDAF (pork barrel) senators (Enrile, Estrada and Revilla). Malayo po. Malayong malayo po,’’ she pointed out. (Comparing the three with us is a stretch.)

Senators Sotto, Gregorio B. Honasan II and Panfilo M Lacson had filed a resolution, slamming the US senators for interfering in purely Philippine internal affairs.

Sotto expressed hope that the Philippine Senate would approve their resolution following a floor debate.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives resume regular session on May 22 after the May 13 mid-term elections.

The Senate chief wondered how the US Congress would react if the Philippine Congress passes a resolution asking the US to allow illegal immigrants to come freely through the US border.

The US Senate and House of Representatives condemned de Lima’s continued detention and calling for her immediate release.

’Well, such disparity, as lamented by the Senate President, simply shows that those US lawmakers, just like the many other parliamentarians belonging to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), European Union (EU), Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), Australian and Canadian Parliaments who earlier issued separate statements expressing concern about my continued detention and called for my release, only choose or dare to act in solidarity with, and fight for the causes, of those they regard as true victims of injustice and political prosecution,’’ de Lima said.

‘’And let’s not forget the fairly recent opinion rendered by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), finding as arbitrary the deprivation of my liberty and concluded that I have been the “target of partisan persecution,’’ she added.

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