Hearing about the approval of a certain panel in the US Senate of a measure to ban Philippine officials involved in Sen. Leila de Lima's detention from entering their country is disturbing, to say the least. This is because as an institution of the political elders of the united States, they must first respect the sovereignty of the countries it calls allies and be very careful of appearing like mafia bosses extracting unreasonable demands from subordinates. With the Senate resolution it surely looks that way. It has lost the moral high ground.
In this light, the statement of Malacanang Palace is correct:
"The Palace considers such undertaking as a brazen attempt to intrude into our country’s domestic legal processes given that the subject cases against the detained senator are presently being heard by our local courts.
It seeks to place pressure upon our independent institutions thereby effectively interfering with our nation’s sovereignty. It is an insult to the competence and capacity of our duly constituted authorities as such act makes it appear that this US Senate panel has the monopoly of what is right and just. "
US Senators complain of interference by countries like Russia into its elections yet do not seem to mind interfering into the affairs of other sovereign countries.
The subsequent statement of Senator Patrick Leahy in response to the Malacanang statement lowers their position even more. By calling out the millions of dollars in aid as a to justify the interference in a judicial proceeding, they have positioned themselves as an overlord demanding that we undo our legal procedures to please them, and their hackneyed political opinion that Senator leila de Lima, despite evidence and testimony showing her complicity in the drug trade, should be unconditionally released.
We need to remind the senator that the de Lima case is underway, sub judice, and if we believe in an independent judiciary, should feel affronted and not intimidated by such actions and statements.
US Senators should instead work to uphold their respect for the institutions of other countries, especially those like ours whose institutions it helped establish, and whose favor it seeks to court, like us. (image: wikipedia)