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‘Misguided’ US senators rely on ‘bogus’ narratives: Palace

Malacañang on Friday slammed American senators for asking US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Philippine government officials allegedly behind the detention of Senator Leila de Lima.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the “misguided” US senators apparently relied on “bogus” narratives of President Rodrigo Duterte’s enemies.

Panelo made the statement after the US Senate passed a resolution condemning de Lima’s continued detention and urging Trump to impose sanctions on Filipino officials linked to her arrest.

“The Palace expresses its disappointment over US Senate Resolution 142 calling upon the US President to impose sanctions on Philippine government officials purportedly behind the arrest and detention of Senator de Lima, as well as the supposed extrajudicial killings in the country,” Panelo said.

“While the Philippine government continues to respect the US Senate as an institution, the Palace finds the posture and conviction of its prejudiced members misguided, as the same are anchored on an erroneous premise culled from bogus narratives of President Duterte’s usual antagonists,” he added.

Senate Resolution 142, titled “A resolution condemning the Government of the Philippines for its continued detention of Senator Leila de Lima, calling for her immediate release, and for other purposes”, was marked “Agreed to in Senate”, according to the website of the US Senate.

De Lima has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center at Camp Crame in Quezon City since February 2017 due to her supposed involvement in the rampant narcotics sale inside the national penitentiary during her stint as justice secretary.

The resolution, which was introduced by US Senator Edward Markey in April 2019, calls for Trump to invoke the Global Magnitsky Act by imposing sanctions on Philippine officials responsible for “orchestrating the arrest and prolonged detention” of de Lima.

The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act authorizes the US to sanction foreign government officials deemed as violators of human rights.

Panelo called the US Senate’s latest act as a form of “bullying”.

“We will not be bullied by any foreign country or by its officials, especially by misinformed and gullible politicians who grandstand at our expense,” he said.

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