FILAMSPEAK: Should the U.S. ban the entry of Leila de Lima’s jailers?

A U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee proposal has made some Philippine officials anxious and very angry.  

The proposal wants to deny entry to the U.S. of those responsible for the “politically motivated imprisonment” of Senator Leila de Lima.  De Lima, a critic of President Duterte, has been detained since 2017 for alleged drug trafficking. The human rights community says she is a prisoner of conscience.

Philippine officials led by Spokesman Sal Panelo decried the proposal offered by Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy as “interference” and an “insult.” While it is truly “only a proposal” and needs the approval of both houses of the U.S. Congress, the passionate reaction among Filipinos in the U.S. and the Philippines got many thinking how far the motion would go.

Six FilAms shared their opinions on the Senate committee proposal.

Nieva Burdick

Chairman of the Board

The Philippine Community Center Services for the Aging

I am not in favor of the U.S. Senate proposal. Why? Because I believe that majority of Philippine politicians are corrupt, so is De Lima. She is no exception. One of her victims is a friend of mine.

Lirio Covey

Professor of Clinical Psychology, Columbia University

President, Association for Adults with Autism PHL

Yes, I am in favor. Senator De Lima’s detention, founded on falsified charges, is unjust and warrants condemnation. Prohibiting those officials who were complicit in the unjust and immoral jailing of a sitting duly elected senator is in my opinion appropriate. Freedom of action and travel, specifically in the U.S., which was withheld, even in her own country, from Senator De Lima, is a privilege deservedly withheld from the perpetrators of her detention.

Atty. Johnson Lazaro

Lazaro Law Group

The culprits who may have conspired to frame Sen. De Lima acted out of arrogance and indifference to the rule of law. To ban them from entering the U.S. is a rejection of corruption and lawlessness. It’s the right thing to do.

Medel Paguirigan

Senior Director of Nursing Education

There have been precedents that the U.S. bans several political individuals like communist party officials, suspected Nazis, criminals and these days, individuals from certain countries. This has been a long-standing practice by the U.S. government. Remember that Liza Maza was barred from entering the U.S. in 2015. The same thing applies to the current administration in the Philippines.

Victor Palmos

Hairstylist & Makeup Artist

Palmos Makeup

I believe so because the law in the Philippines has not been fair to her.  They hit her below the belt. They take away her soul. Walang respeto sa babae, they expose even her personal life. What justice do we have in the Philippines?

Ping Panlilio

Lifestyle artist

Ping Panlilio Antiques and Interiors

I think the United States should not interfere with our issues. They should leave us alone. The problem with the U.S. is that it interferes with international issues especially in areas where their presence is at risk. They should put in their heads that we are not their colony anymore. We are independent and could stand on our own and make our own relevant decisions

(C) The FilAm 2019

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