Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed dismay over the refusal by some of her Senate colleagues to recognize the global consensus about her unjust detention and political persecution she is subjected to under the current regime.
De Lima also chided Senate President Vicente Sotto III for falsely comparing her case to that of former senators and detainees who were all charged of pocketing pork barrel funds, notably, Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada.
“I’m disappointed that SP Sotto doesn’t seem to get the point,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 505.
“Those US lawmakers, just like the many other parliamentarians [w]ho earlier issued separate statements expressing concern about my continued detention and called for my release, only choose or dare to act in solidarity with, and fight for the causes, of those they regard as true victims of injustice and political persecution,” she added.
Last April 4, Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), along with Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Chris Coons (D-DE) filed a bipartisan resolution, logged as Senate Resolution 142, calling on the Philippine government “to immediately release Senator De Lima, drop all charges against her, [and] remove restrictions on her personal and work conditions.”
Refusing to recognize the calls by the US Senators as an expression of international solidarity, Sotto took to Twitter saying, “Solidarity my foot! Did they do that to former SP Enrile and Sens. Revilla and Estrada?”
Instead of taking heed of the persistent calls by the US Congress, Senators Sotto, Gregorio B. Honasan II and Panfilo M. Lacson even filed a Senate resolution slamming the US senators for allegedly interfering in Philippine internal affairs.
“Verily, with many other reputable organizations [c]onsistently standing by me, it will not be presumptuous to assert that there is a global consensus about the unjustness of my situation, something that eludes the lens of some of my very own colleagues in the Philippine Senate,” she said.
The organizations and groups that earlier expressed solidarity with De Lima vouched and called for her immediate release include, among others, the Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Liberal International (LI), Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD), the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and the Australian and Canadian Parliaments.
Meanwhile, in disputing Sotto’s comparison of her case to that of Enrile, Revilla and Estrade, De Lima explained that unlike her, the three former senators did not experience a vicious campaign of personal vilification, character assassination and slut-shaming from the government.
“I hope SP Sotto and others stop comparing my situation with that of the three (3) PDAF senators. Malayo po. Malayong malayo po,” she said.
The former justice secretary asked: “Naranasan ba ng tatlong dating Senador yung mga ginawa sakin ni Duterte at mga kampon nito? Mismo ang Pangulo ang naghusga bago pa man nagkaroon ng imbestigasyon sa mga akusasyon laban sa akin. May nambastos ba at yumurak sa mga pagkatao nila habang dinidinig ng Senado noon yung usapin ng Napoles PDAF Scam, kagaya ng matinding pambabastos na naranasan ko sa House inquiry at sa Pangulo mismo?
“May mga testigo ba sa mga kaso nila na tinakot, pinilit o pinangakuan ng kung ano ano para magsinungaling, gaya ng mga testigo laban sa akin? Maituturing ba na patas, makatao at makatarungan ang trato sa akin ng gobyernong ito?”
It may be recalled that during the Aquino administration, De Lima led the government’s investigation of the multi-million pork barrel scam and filed plunder charges against Enrile, Revilla and Estrada and other lawmakers.
De Lima, who is considered by many as a prisoner of conscience, has been currently detained for more than 2 years now on trumped-up and politically-motivated drug trade charges fabricated by the Duterte administration due to personal and political vendetta.
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