US senator backs colleagues over De Lima release


Posted at Oct 04 2019 11:26 AM

MANILA - A United States senator on Friday backed his colleagues in their fight in convincing the Duterte administration to release Sen. Leila de Lima from detention.

Sen. Edward Markey was among 5 US senators who earlier called on the Duterte administration to release De Lima, a fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-narcotics drive.

"@SenatorDurbin and @SenatorLeahy are right to push for accountability in the Philippine gov't. America must continue to stand for human rights and good governance. That’s why I was proud to introduce S.Res.142, which calls for the release of @SenLeiladeLima," he said in a tweet.

"Sen. de Lima has been the target of very troubling partisan persecution. In an attempt to intimidate and silence voices critical of the government, de Lima has been jailed and not given the opportunity to defend herself. The Duterte administration should release her immediately."

US Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy had earlier filed an amendment seeking to deny US entry to any Philippine official involved in De Lima's detention. It was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Leahy and Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo are involved in a verbal tussle over the ban, which the latter criticized as an attempt to interfere with Manila's domestic affairs.