By Ellson Quismorio
Albay 1st district Rep. Edcel Lagman thinks there’s nothing wrong with the United States (US) government’s move to deny entry to any Philippine official involved in the detention of Senator Leila de Lima.
“Whether or not to allow the entry of a foreign national to a country’s territory is the latter’s unlimited sole prerogative,” Lagman, who presents himself as part of the independent opposition, said on Sunday.
“The action of a panel of the United States Senate to legislate denial of entry to any Philippine official involved in the incarceration of Senator Leila de Lima is an enforcement of American immigration laws and does not intrude into Philippine sovereignty,” he added.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo slammed the move as a “brazen” attempt to intrude into the Philippines’ internal affairs.
Panelo further said that the US Senate has in effect “placed pressure upon our independent institutions, thereby, effectively interfering with our nation’s sovereignty.”
But Lagman argued that the implementation of an immigration policy belonged to the host State’s exclusive sovereign jurisdiction.
“The basis of such exclusionary act of sovereignty is beyond question by other governments or parties.”
Lagman, without naming anybody, said that it was actually Philippine officials assailing the US Senate panel’s action who are the ones interfering in the exercise of American sovereign right.
“The freedom of public discourse allows officials of one country to criticize or even condemn the acts of officials of another country for genuinely perceived or actual violations of civil, political and human rights of the latter’s own citizens,” noted the lawyer-solon.
“This is more true in cases of human rights violations because the protection, promotion and fulfillment of human rights are global concerns which transcend national boundaries, sovereign tenets and parochial prejudices,” he said.
De Lima, a Liberal Party (LP) stalwart like Lagman, is one of the top critics of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippine Senate.
De Lima, 60, has been under custody since February 2017 due to drug-related charges in connection with her previous tenure as Department of Justice secretary.