THE ordinary Filipino may not be in a position, like Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr., to criticize and call “idiotic” the resolution of a United States Senate committee calling for sanctions against Philippine government officials behind extrajudicial killings and Sen. Leila de Lima’s detention.
But the ordinary and informed Filipino knows who the outspoken, erudite, intrepid, yet very nationalistic individual Locsin and could only, therefore, support and applaud his gallant stand against the powers that be. The Philippines is a sovereign nation with a functioning government that continues adhering to and respecting the rule of law, but being a third world country does not mean that we will just allow ourselves to be bullied. Clearly this is what the US is trying to do, pretending its government is holier than thou and using its might to bulldoze and meddle in the affairs of the country headed by President Rodrigo Duterte who has been accused by the opposition and detractors of human rights violation.
How I wish the Human Rights agencies are able to call attention to the massive and systematic human rights violations taking place at the US southern border with Mexico. The US government’s intense border militarization and associated policies are leading to the further severe victimization of people fleeing violence, including children, at the border and beyond, through the expansion of immigration detention, the separation of families and the curtailment of asylum rights.
What is even egregious about the US interference is the fact that by just passing a Senate resolution it thinks it could alter or change the direction of the functioning wheels of justice or that it could cause to stop it from turning further in order to impose its own will. The “idiotic” resolution being referred to here is Resolution 142, which was passed by the US Senate committee invoking the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. It calls for a travel ban to the US and the freezing of assets of Philippine government officials who are responsible for the extrajudicial killings and the prolonged detention of De Lima, who is in jail over alleged multiple drug charges.
For better understanding, the Magnitsky Act was enacted by the Obama Administration, authorizing the US Government to sanction human rights offenders. It is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax lawyer (sometimes referred to as a tax accountant or auditor). Magnitsky uncovered tax fraud perpetrated on a vast scale, implicating Russian officials. In 2008 he was imprisoned in Russia and later died in jail as a result of the mistreatment suffered there.
It is one thing to enact resolutions based on facts obtained from unbiased and reliable reports and/or sources, but when it is coming from those already critical of Duterte’s bloody war against illegal drugs then somehow it loses its accuracy and credibility. Could Resolution 142 then be a product of Vice President Leni Robredo’s 19-day stint as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs that included meeting with officials from the United Nations and the United States government?
Certainly it leaves no room for doubt. (By Jesus Sievert)