By Roy Mabasa
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Sunday described as “idiotic” a United States Senate committee resolution calling for the release of detained Sen. Leila De Lima and the dropping of charges against Rappler head Maria Ressa.
In an early-morning tweet, Locsin cited not just the “separation of powers” but also the “independence of nations” in dismissing US Senate Resolution 142 which also called for US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions against Philippine security forces and officials who were responsible for De Lima’s arrest.
The DFA secretary pointed out that not even a Philippine Senate resolution could end a criminal case such as the one being faced by De Lima.
“Idiotic. Even a Philippine Senate resolution is not one of the ways of ending a criminal trial; there’s only acquittal or conviction or dismissal by a demurrer to evidence. But a US Senate resolution? Aside from separation of powers there’s the independence of nations,” Locsin said in his social media post.
In the resolution adopted last week by the powerful US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, it described De Lima, who was arrested on drug charges in February, 2017, as a “prisoner of conscience, detained solely on account of her political views and the legitimate exercise of her freedom of expression.”
One of its proponents, Democratic Sen. Ed Markey said the move demonstrates “broad support” for accountability in the case of De Lima whose crime is “standing for human rights and good governance in the Philippines.”
Another Democratic senator from Illinois Richard Durbin said he “proudly co-sponsored” Markey’s resolution calling on the government in Manila to end its “troubling detention” of the lady senator and the “harassment” of Ressa.