PHILIPPINE Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez on Wednesday, November 13, met with two U.S. lawmakers who sought for the release of Senator Leila De Lima to discuss the case of the detained senator.
Romualdez met with Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), two of the five U.S. senators that earlier filed a resolution condemning De Lima’s imprisonment as well as a resolution banning the entry of Philippine government officials involved in De Lima’s detention. The other senators were Marco Rubio (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE).
In their resolution, the five senators said De Lima was a “prisoner of conscience, detained solely on account of her political views and the legitimate exercise of her freedom of expression.”
“The Ambassador (Romualdez) said he will continue to engage the senators on these issues and all aspects of PH-U.S. relations,” said the Philippine Embassy in the U.S. in a tweet.
Romualdez also said that the case of news website Rappler and its CEO, Maria Ressa, was also discussed in the meeting.
In September, a U.S. panel approved a bill titled “Prohibition on Entry” for local officials who had something to do in the “wrongful” imprisonment of De Lima.
Malacañang, for its part, was not pleased with the U.S. Senate resolution, and accused Washington of interference on the Philippines’ sovereignty.
“It seeks to place pressure upon our independent institutions, thereby effectively interfering with our nation’s sovereignty,” said presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
De Lima, a vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial center in Camp Crame since February 2017. (Ritchel Mendiola/AJPress)