Opposition senator Leila de Lima has submitted to the American government a list of people who should be banned from entering the United States for their involvement in her three-year detention.
President Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Bong Go and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra couldn’t care less.
“Sa tingin mo maniniwala sila doon? Kung saka-sakaling may maisubmit niya, maniwala lang ako kapag sinama niya pangalan niya dahil may kaso siya,” Go told Senate reporters on Wednesday. “You think papayagan siya na magsubmit na mayroon siyang drug case?”
Go reiterated that De Lima’s detention was a result of prosecution, not persecution.
“Ito ay upheld by the Supreme Court. Wala ba kayong tiwala sa ating judicial system?” he said. “Kawawa naman tayo kung ganon. Kaya nga meron tayong Supreme Court, judges, prosecutors, magtiwala tayo. Sundin natin ang ating judicial process.”
Guevarra likewise shrugged off the De Lima report.
“I am not interested to know who are (on) her list. I trust that the US State Department will exercise its own independent evaluation and exercise prudence and circumspection,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.
Guevarra earlier said De Lima cannot claim persecution as she has not even tried to post bail for the drug charges filed against her.
Malacañang, meanwhile, claimed De Lima is also a human rights violator.
“You must remember na ‘yung [US] amendment refers to violators of human rights ‘di umano and allegedly she’s one of those victims,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said during Wednesday’s media briefing.
“But she’s forgetting that she’s also a violator of human rights. Kaya nga siya naka-demanda eh! Kung hindi niya nilagay ‘yung pangalan niya doon na number one, eh… mali ‘yung listahan niya on the assumption na totoo ‘yung sinasabi niya. Kasama siya doon dapat.”
Despite De Lima’s submission of the list, Panelo maintained that any country has the authority and discretion to ban foreigners.
Panelo said the President is not bothered even if De Lima placed him on top of the list.
“Hindi ba he already made a statement on that? He’s not interested! He’s not even interested in going there. ‘Di ba he declined the invitation na nga [to go to the US]?,” Panelo said.
In late 2012, then Justice Secretary De Lima and former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer in charge Rafael Ragos were alleged to have extorted money from high-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City to fund her senatorial bid in 2016.
De Lima, who has been in jail since February 2017, did not reveal the names on her list. (With reports from Francis Wakefield, PNA)