MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday said its office and the executive branch had no objection and "supported the request" of the congressional delegation led by US Sen. Edward Markey to visit former Philippine senator Leila de Lima.
DFA spokesperson Teresita Daza said the delegation was able to visit De Lima "by following the applicable judicial and administrative procedures."
"The executive branch including DFA interposed no objection and supported the request," Daza told reporters. "The delegation secured access by following the applicable judicial and administrative procedures."
The US delegation, composed of 8 officials, was finally able to visit De Lima upon the approval of 2 Muntinlupa courts. The visit lasted for around an hour.
Markey and US Congressmen Alan Lowenthal, John Garamendi, Don Beyer and Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen were barred by the Philippine National Police from visiting De Lima on Thursday due to lack of court approval.
The visit is meant to discuss “the progress of the remaining cases filed against the former Senator, her current situation, and experiences in the more than five and a half years of her continued unjust detention,” according to a press release.
DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo meantime met the delegation where the US side reaffirmed the role of the Philippines and the Philippine-US alliance in U.S. defense and security policy.
"Earlier today, I received a U.S. Congressional delegation (CODEL), led by @SenMarkey, to exchange views on the overall direction and future of bilateral relations under the new PH admin, in the context of recent regional developments," Manalo said.
"The CODEL reaffirmed the extraordinary role of PH and the alliance in U.S. defense and security policy."
Manalo added that he discussed the importance of the bilateral partnership and "the continuing diplomatic engagement with other regional actors, including ASEAN, in promoting the peace and prosperity of both countries and the region as a whole."