Palace says De Lima should be on US ban list

Senator Leila De Lima | Philstar.com photo

OPPOSITION Senator Leila De Lima should be included in the list of individuals to be banned from the United States, Malacañang argued.

“She (De Lima) should put herself on the top list plus (former senator and administration critic Antonio) Trillanes (IV) and others who have been peddling lies to the outside world,” said presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, according to a report by the Philippine Star.

This statement came after Fhillip Sawali, De Lima’s chief of staff, revealed that the detained senator is making up a “comprehensive” list of officials and private individuals responsible for her “wrongful” detention in 2017. Persons included may be barred from entering the U.S. should the amendment in the 2020 budget signed in December by U.S. President Donald Trump be implemented.

The provision in the U.S. budget stated that that the U.S. Secretary of State “shall apply sub-section (c) to foreign government officials about whom the secretary has credible information have been involved in the wrongful imprisonment of… Sen. Leila De Lima who was arrested in the Philippines in 2017.”

The sub-section refers to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act that authorizes the U.S. government to slap sanctions on persons tied to human rights violations, including barring them from entering the country. 

According to Panelo, De Lima is just trying to make herself “relevant.”

“If I were you, you should ignore her nonsense. She is just using you people to become relevant while in detention. You continue to give her attention and she is very happy about it,” he said.

“As far we are concerned, she is an irrelevant political entity,” he added.

De Lima has accused several individuals behind her arrest and detention, including President Rodrigo Duterte, Panelo, former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, Solicitor General Jose Calida, Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office board member Sandra Cam, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission chairman Dante Jimenez, Rep. Rey Umali, former congressman Rudy Fariñas, and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration deputy executive director and blogger Mocha Uson.

She said the list was reportedly being finalized and is set to be released. 

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