Panelo on Durbin's calling Duterte autocratic: offensive, shameful display of illiteracy in governance
Malacanang again hit on Friday US Senator Richard Durbin for calling President Rodrigo Duterte autocratic, saying it was a display of "illiteracy" in governance on the part of the American lawmaker.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo called Durbin's latest statement as another "unlearned and unthought" remarks that exposed not only his "abject ignorance of what due process is but as well as of the principle of international law mandating that sovereign states must respect each other’s independence and must not intrude into the exercise of each other’s sovereignty."
"Calling the President of the Republic of the Philippines autocratic, by reason of a Philippine senator's detention, which was pursuant to - and in obedience of - Philippine substantive and procedural law, is offensive and a shameful display of illiteracy in the science of governance," he stressed.
He noted that the Philippines is a democratic government and Duterte has been elected by an overwhelming majority.
Panelo also cited Duterte's high approval and trust ratings of 87 percent and 83 percent, respectively, of Filipinos based on a recent survey.
"Autocracy has no place in this Republic," he added.
Durbin once again urged the Duterte administration to release detained Senator Leila de Lima and should stop threatening the travel of Americans.
He has said that the government should instead ensure a quick and credible trial for De Lima or just do the "right thing and release her."
Panelo earlier said that if the US would implement a provision in the US budget this year, imposing sanctions against Philippine government officials responsible for De Lima's "wrongful detention," Manila would require all Americans to secure visas before entering the Philippines even if for less than 30-day visit.
Durbin was also one of the three US senators supportive of De Lima's cause that the Duterte administration prohibited from entering the Philippines. The two others are Senators Patrick Leahy and Edward Markey.
Panelo reiterated that Durbin's demand for De Lima's release is a "brazen interference and an assault to our sovereignty as it interferes with our judicial process."
He also said Durbin's remarks "not only violate the principle of subjudice but it also assails the ongoing proceedings thereby trampling upon the rights of the People of the Philippines."
Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel, vowed not to make anymore statement regarding Durbin.
"This will be the last time that the Office of the President will address any other intrusive and incorrigible nonsense from Senator Durbin," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS