By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senators on Monday slammed the United States’ supposed interference in the Philippines’ internal affairs following President Donald Trump’s approval of the ban on Filipino officials involved in the detention of opposition Sen. Leila de Lima.
It was reported that Trump signed into law last Friday the US Fiscal Year 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill which includes a provision prohibiting the entry of Philippine government officials who were found to be involved in the “wrongful imprisonment” of De Lima.
“It only shows they meddle with other country’s justice system without even investigating,” Sotto said in a text message when sought for comment.
Sotto earlier labeled as “racist” the said provision and its proponents, Democrat Senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy, for proposing the ban “when they do not know about De Lima’s case.”
Senator Richard Gordon also rejected the approved provision, calling it an “intrusion on the internal affairs of our country.”
“All our institutions are working,” the Senate justice and human rights committee chairman added.
De Lima has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame since February 2017 for her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City during her stint as Justice secretary.
Aside from Philippine government officials, the US would also prohibit the entry of Egyptian officials for jailing Mustafa Kassem despite his failing health.
Kassem is an American citizen arrested in 2013 for allegedly taking part in attempts to overthrow the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi.