“We must #FreeLeilaNow,” tweeted US Sen. Dick Turbin as he lauded the US Senate panel for approving the amendment that he proposed with US Sen. Patrick Leahy.
Good to see the Senate Appropriations Committee pass my amendment with @SenatorLeahy today to prohibit entry to any Philippine Government Officials involved in the politically motivated imprisonment of Filipina Senator Leila de Lima in 2017. We must #FreeLeilaNow.
The two senators proposed a bill that would prohibit the entry of Philippine government officials involved in the “politically motivated” imprisonment of Sen. Leila De Lima.
Sen. Durbin was among five US senators who called on Manila to release De Lima, a fierce critic of the administration’s anti-narcotics drive. Sen. De Lima has been detained since February 2017 for allegedly pocketing drug payoffs from convicted crime lords when she was still a justice secretary. She called this allegation “political persecution.”
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has said US senators backing De Lima should “mind their own business” since the US has enough problems.
“The Republic of the Philippines is not under the dominion of the United States of America or any of its high-ranking officials,” he said in a statement last April.
“The US senators’ resort to a reckless and unstudied political exercise only highlights their unfamiliarity with the domestic matters of our country as well as their disrespect to the clamor of the Filipino people for law and order,” he added.
Sen. Leila De Lima is currently not entitled to bail and if found guilty, faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The charges she’s been facing have been highly criticized by the public, and this support from the US will hopefully lead to further investigations on her case