Palace disappointed on US Senate Resolution 142: Panelo

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Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo said that the Office of the President is disappointed “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.”

“The said resolution condemns the lawful arrest and detention of Senator de Lima, as well as accepting an unproved accusation — and false narrative on — alleged extra-judicial killings,” Panelo said in a statement.

Panelo said that 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.

“Such actions are brazen and intrusive to the dignity of an independent, democratic and sovereign state such as ours,” the presidential spokesperson said.

“If and when these calls materialize, the Palace considers the same as a direct and shameless affront against the Republic of the Philippines, which has longed ceased to be a colony of the United States of America,” he said.

However, Panelo the Palace “trusts that agents of the Executive Branch of the US Government are more discerning and circumspect in the areas of diplomacy and sovereign respect and will act in accordance with credible information and supporting evidence.”

“As we have repeatedly stressed, the drug-related deaths are not state initiated. They occur due to the violent resistance by the suspects in buy-bust operations and police raids thereby endangering the lives of the law enforcers hence their resort to self-defense sanctioned by law. This government adheres strictly to the rule of law,” he added.

“On the issue of security assistance, our policy is not to accept any foreign assistance conditioned upon the permission of interference with the internal policies or affairs of the Philippines. We will decline offers that go against this policy,” Panelo noted.

“For the nth time, the cases against Senator de Lima and Ms. Ressa have absolutely nothing to do with their political views on the Duterte Administration or their affiliation with the political opposition. Their being critics of the President and the Administration will not shield them from criminal prosecution should they violate the law as in their present cases,” he said.

“These latest actions of the US Senate are a form of bullying on the part of a particular institution of a foreign country. We will not be bullied by any foreign country or by its officials, specially by misinformed and gullible politicians who grandstand at our expense,” he added.