Palace not bothered by US ban vs PH officials responsible in De Lima's detention
Malacañang shrugged off on Monday the United States' ban against Philippine officials responsible for the detention of opposition Senator Leila de Lima.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Duterte administration could not interfere in the process of the US legislature.
"We are not bothered by it. First, it’s their process; we cannot intrude, in the same way that we react when they intrude into our processes," he said.
He also noted the "colatilla" in the newly-passed US budget law, which includes the provision on “Prohibition on Entry” upon approval of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against human rights offenders and freeze their assets.
"The very provision says there must be credible information before they ban any official in the Philippines," he said.
Panelo, who is also the chief presidential legal counsel, said there was no "wrongful imprisonment" in the case of De Lima.
"So, I suppose the Secretary of State, unlike the two senators who introduced that amendment, is better informed and educated on the internal judicial process of this country and would necessarily follow his informed judgement," he said.
Panelo insisted that De Lima underwent two processes before her detention.
"As we have repeatedly explained, it cannot be a wrongful detention because the senator went through two processes ? one, administrative when the investigating prosecutor conducted a proceeding to determine whether there exists a probable cause for the filing of an information and prosecutor found the existence of one. And then the another process is judicial - the Constitution requires the judge before issuing a warrant for the arrest of an accused to determine, personally examine the evidence before him and if he finds probable cause then he issues a warrant of arrest. So, how can that be a wrongful detention?" he explained.
Asked if the government would be sending communication with the US regarding De Lima's arrest, he said, "I will leave that to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs."
De Lima earlier named Duterte and Panelo among those involved in persecuting her.
"In the first (place) I have no plans in going there (US). Number two, you know the statements of De Lima has been completely repudiated by surveys after surveys conducted by credible organizations," Panelo said, citing the President's high approval rating. Celerina Monte/DMS