Tell It to SunStar: What vindication?

DETAINED Sen. Leila de Lima should know better than to trust her own judgment. This, after she expressed gratitude to lawmakers in the US Congress who supported a provision in the US National Budget for 2020 that, among other things, allows the secretary of state to deny US entry to Philippine officials involved in her detention, including freezing of their US assets.

“This bipartisan support from high-ranking law- and policy-makers in the US has given me a gift I have been longing for: vindication,” De Lima said.

What vindication is de Lima talking about?

She added: “Because these veteran US public officials would not be standing with me if they had any doubt about my innocence or the fact that my persecution is an attack, not just against me but against human rights and human rights defenders.”

Just because they are US public officials expressing their point of view or sentiments about de Lima’s incarceration does not mean they are correct as they have the habit of doing that and imposing their will, especially towards governments of third world countries.

It is even worse when the Americans’ source of information is coming from the opposition and critics of President Rodrigo Duterte, whose war against illegal drugs was made the centerpiece of his administration.

Only well-meaning Filipinos who have been in this country all these times can give an unbiased determination whether or not de Lima has been unfairly treated or illegally detained.

Needless to say, the same well-meaning Filipinos can make a fair judgment on the enormity of the illegal drug problem in the country and who de Lima really is and what she has done during her stint as justice secretary in the past administration which led to her non-bailable arrest during the succeeding Duterte administration after being linked to the illegal drug trade where the evidence against her consisted of the testimony of prison inmates, police officers and former prison officials.

What I am just saying here is that let us not be swayed or easily get intimidated by the displeasure expressed by some foreign dignitaries simply because they belong to the first world countries and believe that their words can tip the balance of the blindfolded lady justice in their favor.

Let us demand respect! It behooves upon us all, as proud Filipinos, to support the leadership of this country, that even as we belong to the third world, we are a government of laws as opposed to the US, a highly developed and powerful country that blatantly violates the human rights of some people wanting to better their lives and give a brighter future to their children as it is known to be a beacon of freedom, hope and opportunity.

Thus, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo was right in saying that the case of de Lima is not one of persecution but of prosecution. On this the US lawmakers don’t have the right to interfere in the judicial affairs of this country.

It cannot be more understandably clearer than that. (Jesus Sievert)