De Lima submitting list of ‘persecutors’ to U.S. State Department

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Leila De Lima will submit to the US State Department a full list of her so-called persecutors “complete with a summary and citation of references justifying their inclusion.” 

De Lima said on Saturday, January 4, that her list would be “recommendatory” and “not at all binding on the US government,” adding it would be merely for the US agency’s “consideration.” 

The embattled senator said this in relation to the 2020 US budget, signed into law by US President Donald Trump, which included a provision that denies entry to those involved in her detention.

Officials of the Duterte administration have since dismissed the proposed sanctions, with Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and Foreign Secretary Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin Jr asserting that the opposition senator was imprisoned according to Philippine laws. 

The Philippine government has also since barred from enterting the country the 3 US senators who pushed for the sanctions.

“I fully recognize that it remains the prerogative of the US State Department, as mandated by the US Congress, to come up with its own list based on credible information from its own sources,” she said. 

She also said she would not release her full list until the US state department comes up with its own, so as not to preempt the agency. Not even her staff know about the names in the list, she added.

De Lima released a partial list in October, identifying several Philippine officials whom she believed to be involved in her imprisonment. On top of De Lima's list is President Rodrigo Duterte himself, who, she said, "took a direct hand in controlling the inmates-witnesses when he ordered their transfer from Bilibid to a military facility."

Alluding to her “persecutors,” she said: “They could not, and should have never, acted as the complainant, investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner in pursuing the baseless charges they themselves engineered and orchestrated against me.” 

Far from “political persecution borne out of political grudges,” she said her list would be “a serious list, with particulars on why the named personalities deserve to be on the list, meaning, their respective roles in my persecution that led to my wrongful imprisonment.”

“What I can assure everyone is that great effort at exercising circumspection and prudence was exerted to make sure that it is not a mere wish list, let alone an arbitrary one,” the senator said.  

“The only colatilla is – there may be other names still unknown or undiscovered at this point, but were very much part of this whole Duterte project of persecution against me. We hope to name them also in due time,” she added.

De Lima, a fierce critic of the President Rodrigo Duterte, has been imprisoned since February 2017 over drug charges.

Since her detention, De Lima has asserted that allegations against her were fabricated by the government in retaliation for her opposition of Duterte's violent policies, including his bloody war on drugs. (READ: Premedidated murder: The character assassination of Leila de Lima) – Rappler.com