Palace: US Sen. Rubio has 'no basis' to call for De Lima release

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 23 2019 02:23 PM

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo and US Republican Senator Marco Rubio. File

MANILA -- US Senator Marco Rubio has "no basis" to call for the release of opposition Senator Leila de Lima, who is detained on drug charges, Malacanang said Monday.

Rubio, a Republican, asked Manila to "unconditionally release" De Lima, claiming she was being held on "bogus charges."

"Yung statement ni Senator Rubio, yung ang bogus, walang batayan," Duterte's spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.

(The statement of Senator Rubio is bogus and has no basis.)

Panelo questioned how the charges against De Lima could be considered trumped up when the case went through the process.

"May warrant, paano maging bogus?" Panelo said.

(There is a warrant, how can that be bogus?)

In April, Rubio was among 5 US senators who called for De Lima's release.

De Lima, a fierce critic of the administration's bloody anti-narcotics campaign, has been detained since February 2017 for allegedly pocketing drug payoffs from convicted crime lords at the national penitentiary when she was still justice secretary. 

She has decried her detainment as "political persecution."