By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Monday urged United States (U.S.) government officials to come to the Philippines so they can better understand the country’s anti-illegal drug campaign.
He dared the U.S. lawmakers and other officials to visit the country, saying they need to see the actual situation in the Philippines and why the majority of the Filipinos are supportive of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
“Marahil, upang mas lalo nilang maintindihan kung ano talaga ang tunay na nangyayari dito sa ating bansa, iniimbitahan ko ang mga opisyal ng gobyerno ng U.S., punta kayo dito sa Pilipinas (Maybe, so they can fully understand what is really happening here in the country, I’m inviting US government officials to come to the Philippines),” Go said.
“Para mas makita ninyo ng personal ang aktwal na sitwasyon. Para mas makita ninyo kung paano winawasak ng iligal na druga ang pamilyang Pilipino (So you can personally see for yourself the real situation, how the effects of illegal drugs destroys Filipino families),” he added.
“Sabi ninyo, magkaibigan ang U.S. at ang Pilipinas. Bilang isang tunay na kaibigan, kung may gusto kayong punahin sa aming ginagawa, hindi ba dapat ang tatanungin ninyo ay ‘Ano ba ang maitutulong namin sa inyo?’ (You claim that the U.S. and the Philippines are friends. If you are a real friend, if you have some concerns about what we are doing, shouldn’t you be asking us how you can help?)” Go pointed out.
Go was reacting to the signing of a U.S. law that bans the entry into the U.S. of all Senator Leila de Lima’s alleged persecutors. The detained senator lauded the U.S, government’s move, saying it recognizes that she is indeed a victim of political persecution.
A close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, Go said he sees no problem with the U.S. law banning the entry of Filipinos whom they believe are part of the persecution and detention of De Lima, but the U.S. government should know how to respect other countries’ sovereignty.
“Last time I checked, Philippines is not part of the United States. Hindi naman natin pwedeng pakialaman ang proseso ng US Congress, nasa kanila ‘yun. In same manner na hindi naman nila dapat panghimasukan ang ating sariling proseso dito sa Pilipinas na isang malayang bansa (We cannot interfere with the processes in the US Congress, that’s up to them. In the same manner, they should not interfere with our own judicial processes here in the Philippines, which is a free country),” Go said in a statement.
“They may have been misinformed. Allow me to state that there is no ‘wrongful imprisonment’ of Senator Leila de Lima. She is detained upon the lawful order of the court. It is even affirmed by no less than our Supreme Court sitting en banc,” Go said. “The drug charges against her went through our judicial process. She was given all opportunities to defend herself. And our courts remain independent and functional.”
Go maintained that Duterte is doing what he believes is best for the Filipino nation and that is removing the illegal drug menace in the community through his war on drugs.
“If they decide to impose a visa ban on certain officials of our country, that’s on them. Nirerespeto ko ang opinyon ng ibang tao pero kung banyaga ka, hindi ka naman Pilipino, sana man lang intindihin mo ang pinanggagalingan naming mga Pilipino (I respect others’ opinion but if you are a foreigner, you’re not a Filipino, then you should make it a point to understand where Filipinos are coming from),” Go said.
“Tanungin ninyo ang karamihan ng mga Pilipinong sumasang ayon sa ginagawa ng gobyerno ngayon (You should ask the majority of the Filipinos who agree with what the government is doing now) and you will know that democracy works and the rule of law triumphs in our country,” he added.