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Finally! The US Senate panel has now adopted Senate Resolution 142 which invokes the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. This resolution covered the following:
- Philippine officials and security forces responsible for extrajudicial killings in the Philippines;
- Philippine officials responsible for “orchestrating the arrest and prolonged detention of Senator De Lima”.
Many of these Philippine officials who have businesses, properties and even families in the US could no longer visit for as long as this resolution stands. So long as the Philippine government will turn to the other cheek and instead guarantee the freedom of the press and “drop all charges against De Lima, Maria Ressa and Rappler. Then surely, the ban will be lifted. However, we might not expect this to happen pretty soon. As Duterte is hellbent in arresting and jailing his critics for as long as he remains as President.
This is also a sigh of relief that our friends in America were concerned in the fast deteriorating political conditions in the country which meant that it is no longer independent in protecting peoples right but rather the entire Philippine bureacacy were all but concerned in satisfying Duterte’s whims and desires as well as protecting his allies from prosecution or public accountability.
The Philippine government is now officially a criminal syndicate. Where each and every one of them would go to great lengths just to defend and brush off any accountabilities that they may encounter and put the people on their toes by issuing threats against journalists while slaughtering the poorest members of the society in their bid to instill fear amongst the populace.
Contrary to what many Duterte diehard and controlled politicians are saying. The US Senate was only demonstrating their right to block human-rights violators from their country. They’re not interfering our soverienghty in any way they could? They’re imposing the resolution within the bounds of US territory which is covered under US law. If you don’t go to the US, then why worry about the ban?
One of the dumbest in Senator in the Senate wants to also ban US Senators in the PHL?
Instead of seriously considering the demands of the Resolution and a wake-up call of their glaring crimes. Duterte’s arrogant allies in the Senate scoffed and most notably his assistant/puppet Bong Go even suggested that the Philippine government should ban US legislators from entering the country.
“These senators should also be banned here in the Philippines. I will suggest to President Duterte to ban these legislators from entering our country for interfering in our internal affairs. These senators think they know better than us in governing ourselves,” – Bong Go
Even the clueless Senate President, Tito Sotto slammed the US Senators resolution by saying that De Lima was in fact innocent until proven guilty and that the case should not be judged by the US Senators themselves. However, Sotto is simply getting it — I wouldn’t be expecting that he would.
For your information. De Lima has been detained since February 2017 on allegations made by high-profile convicts, which by law should not have been allowed to testify since their testimonies could have been made under duress. Also, the accusations that she was receiving thousands of pesos from the same druglords in the Bilibid to fund her senatorial campaigns would have meant that she should have been tried in the Ombudsman as the crime would not have been illegal drug trade but a glaring administrative offense of corruption.
However, surprisingly, the Duterte government did what it could in its heavy-handed attempt to persecute De Lima. And the drug-lords testimonies were considered by a judge in the Regional Trial Court, which then issued the arrest warrant to put her behind bars. To this day since 2017, she remained incarcerated in state penitentiary.
“Senator de Lima is a brave champion of human rights, detained solely for her criticism of the Duterte administration,”
As one of the only leaders bold enough to oppose Duterte’s murderous ‘war on drugs,’ she has faced prolonged arbitrary detention. This is a blatant attempt to silence her courageous voice as she continues to speak out against widespread human rights violations, including thousands of extrajudicial executions of mostly poor and marginalized people.” — said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s East and South East Asia and the Pacific Regional Director
De Lima has tried to seek the help of the highest court of the land regarding her unjust incarceration. But the Supreme Court ruled 9 to 6 that the arrest orders were justified. However, on the resolution issued by the Supreme Court affirming De Lima’s arrest as valid indicated that nine justices comprising the majority weren’t really even sure of what the charges were— five thought that the charge was illegal drug trading, three said that it was conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading, and one said that it could be either.
Four judges inhibit, afraid to handle De Lima case or to convict an innocent person
You can only tell that De Lima’s case were all but purely fabricated lie. And that they know the case won’t stand in court. Duterte in all his power and influence would easily get her convicted but there’s a catch. The judges who should have been handling the case decided not to handle it. Why? Well, pretty simple.
Duterte won’t live forever, nor will he stay in power until the next two Christmases. His term will end in 2022 and God knows who’s going to be the next President? If that President is like the dignified and liberal minded leader such as Leni Robredo then I’m pretty sure De Lima will be off the hook and of course the people who orchestrated the fake charges would surely be punished.
Clearly, the authorities have mistreated and persecuted De Lima and further violated her human rights whilst in detention. She has been held practically in isolation in Camp Crame, the police headquarters, and rarely even allowed visitors as most of them have to be vetted out in detail before even allowed to speak to her. Delegations from foreign governments, most notably the US have been prevented from seeing her or have had a difficult time doing so. She has been denied the use of electronic devices and has only been able to continue to issue press releases and public updates criticizing the “war on drugs” by writing them in longhand.
If De Lima, an actively sitting Senator of the Republic could easily be bullied and tossed around by the same legal machinery which covers all sane-minded men in this land. What about the ordinary Juan? If they can easily get away with putting her behind bars out from false-charges and fake testimonies from convicted criminals then what would make it easier for them to put any powerless person in a much worse plight.
Even at this time of writing. As many as 25,000+ were subjected to mass-assassination by men in uniform which was encouraged by none other than Duterte himself in many of his speeches. Many of those people were innocent wives, husbands, sisters, brothers and worst were small children pinned between the crossfire of government forces and drug-pushers. The war has taken so many lives yet the outcomes were far more optimistic. Duterte’s Drug War has failed. Why? Well, according to data that 1.8 million drug users were noted since 2016 and then years later in 2018 it rose to more than 8 million drug users according to Duterte’s own speech of course.
The arbitrary detention and mistreatment of de Lima is emblematic of the deteriorating situation for all human rights defenders in the Philippines. You should be concerned and you should be alarmed. Free De Lima, Free Philippines!