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Hontiveros, Pangilinan say US senators’ resolution on De Lima not an interference

Two opposition senators insisted Friday that the resolution of United States lawmakers calling for the release of detained Senator Leila de Lima is not an interference to Philippine affairs.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said the five US senators are expressing international solidarity.

“International solidarity is not foreign intervention. It’s about humanity. This animated Senators Nene Pimentel  and Miriam Defensor Santiago to file resolutions calling for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from prison,” Hontiveros said in a Twitter post.

“You know who’s guilty of foreign intervention? China. That’s where you should put our foot down,” she added.

Senator Francis Pangilinan said the Philippine Senate has in the past adopted similar resolutions on the situation of and concern for human rights in other countries and expressed gratitude for another country's enactment of a law benefitting our countrymen.

“With due respect, we disagree that there is interference on the part of the US Senate in its resolution calling for the release of Senator De Lima,” he said in a press statement.

Pangilinan said in 2005, the Philippine Senate adopted Resolution 191, which expressed the sense of the Senate that Myanmar should not assume chairmanship of the ASEAN in light of Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest and political persecution and the continued violation of civil and political rights in that country.

He added, in 2009, the Philippine Senate approved a resolution thanking US Congress for passing a bill granting recognition and benefits to Filipino World War II veterans.

He further said, in 2012, the Senate approved Resolution 130, which expressed support for Cambodia in its efforts to promote parliamentary and inclusive democracy by having fair and credible elections free from violence and electoral fraud.

“These, as are the US legislators' proposed resolutions on Sen. De Lima, are expressions of solidarity, which like humanity, knows no boundary,” said Pangilinan.

A bipartisan group of US senators composed of Democrats Ed Markey, Chris Coons, and Dick Durbin and Republicans Marco Rubio, and Marsha Blackburn condemned the "state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings" in the Philippines as part of the Duterte administration's war on drugs, and called for the dropping of charges against Rappler CEO Maria Ressa.

According to their resolution, De Lima should be considered a "prisoner of conscience," who was detained "solely on account of her political views and legitimate exercise of her freedom of expression."

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Panfilo Lacson, and Gregorio Honasan filed Senate Resolution 1037 on Wednesday to denounce the US lawmakers' proposed Resolutions 233 and 142 for "being an affront to the sovereignty of the Republic of the Philippines and an undue interference in its judicial process." —LDF, GMA News