American Congresswoman Susan Wild’s bill which seeks to suspend police and military aid due to the alleged human rights abuses of the Duterte government is just so wild, a slightly smirking Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said today.
Ah, we see what you did there, Harry.
“That’s a very wild suggestion. We are confident that the [U.S.] State Department and the administration of President [Donald] Trump, because of his close friendship with our President [Rodrigo Duterte]…recognizes the worth of continual cooperation between the United States and the Philippines,” Roque told reporters in a virtual briefing in English and Filipino.
He added that similar to the Philippines, practically any member of the U.S. Congress can easily file a bill, but this will still need to hurdle through both houses of Congress and pass hundreds of lawmakers’ approval.
“The chances of this being passed into law is very slim. So let’s just let that go, because that is the personal opinion of Congresswoman Wild, which is a very wild idea,” the spokesman said.
“We will not interfere with a nation’s sovereignty. If they want to do it, then do it. But we are confident…I think the United States recognizes the value of the Philippines as its partner when it comes to matters of its own national security,” he added.
Wild filed her proposed Philippine Human Rights Bill before the U.S. Congress in reaction to the contentious Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 which Duterte signed into law on July 3. The American lawmaker said that the Anti-Terror Law puts activists and critics of the Duterte government in harm’s way.
Her proposed bill sought to block U.S. police and military aid to the country unless the Duterte government takes necessary steps to remedy the human rights situation in the country. This includes probing and criminally charging police forces who have allegedly committed human rights violations; and protecting journalists, activists, and marginalized communities against the said abuses.
Duterte in his recent speech before the United Nations General Assembly cited rebel communist insurgency and terrorist attacks in Marawi as the reason for creating an “effective legal framework” against terrorism through the widely opposed Anti-Terror Law. However, various groups including Filipino religious leaders have disputed the law, asking the Philippine Supreme Court to suspend it for being allegedly unconstitutional.
This article, ‘Wild idea’: Roque takes sarcastic dig at US lawmaker’s plea to halt PH military aid, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.