De Lima says US senators’ move to ban her oppressors in US not a PR ploy

Published October 9, 2019, 3:37 PM

by Gabriela Baron & Minka Klaudia Tiangco

By Hannah Torregoza

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday rejected Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin’s pronouncement that the American senators who made the proposal to ban Filipino officials who were behind her detention from entering the United States was “obviously a PR (public relations) tour de force” and an “act of interference.”

Sen. Leila de Lima (PRIB Photo by Alex Nuevaespaña/2 August 2016/Manila Bulletin)
Sen. Leila de Lima (PRIB Photo by Alex Nuevaespaña / File Photo MANILA BULLETIN)

“No, Sir. It’s nothing like that. It’s about standing up, in concrete terms, for human rights and accountability. It’s a matter of truth and justice,” De Lima said in a statement.

“These principles, which are revered in democratic societies like the US, are being discarded like garbage by the increasingly authoritarian Duterte regime,” the senator said.

De Lima, who is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center and facing drug charges, is referring to the US Senate appropriations committee report where an amendment to a bill seeking to deny entry to the Filipinos behind the “wrongful imprisonment” of the lawmaker.

The senator has since denied her involvement in the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), saying it was part of the Duterte administration’s schemes to silence their vocal critics.

“I hope that our functionaries, especially those whose very mandate is to dispense justice in this country and those who directly deal with the diplomatic community, are sensitive and clear-minded enough to appreciate the dimensions and underlying sentiments behind the concerted efforts abroad to stand by me and my causes,” de Lima said.

“It is unfortunate that the Hon. Chief Justice would choose to downplay as a mere PR feat the clear-cut significance of the US Senators’ action,” she lamented.

“Perhaps, a self-reflection on the part of the institutions with varying roles in facilitating Duterte’s vendetta against me, is called for,” she stressed.