VICE-PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Thursday called on the United States government to revoke the visas and freeze the US-based property and financial interest of all Filipinos directly and indirectly involved in fabricating drug charges which led to the imprisonment of Sen. Leila de Lima.
“All those who were involved — directly or indirectly, in this grand design to besmirch the reputation of Sen. De Lima and to demolish her politically for her crusade to eliminate social injustice in the Philippines – have utterly failed their mission. Now, they must be held accountable as what they have tried, but again failed, to do with Sen. De Lima. Justice must be served now,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan, who is chairman of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats, also thanked Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations East-Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who on May 3 renewed calls for De Lima’s immediate release following the withdrawal of statements made by two key state witnesses.
The US senators said “the recent recanting by key witnesses of allegations made against Senator Leila De Lima warrant her immediate release. Clearly, the bogus charges against her were, as we suspected all along, politically-motivated and based on false information.”
“That she has lost five years in jail due to these spurious charges is a travesty. She should be released immediately and any remaining charges should be dropped without further delay,” the senators said in a statement released in Washington D.C. on May 3.
“While we express gratitude to the US senators for their continued crusade to release Sen. De Lima, we also renew our call on the US government and its agencies to revoke the visas and block and freeze all the US-based property and financial interests of all Filipinos who directly and indirectly participated in the fabrication of drug charges which led to the unjust imprisonment of Sen. De Lima for more than five years.”
“We also thank all US-based warriors for social justice who are with us in making all Philippine government officials and individuals accountable for their direct and indirect participation in extra-judicial killings, torture, and other violations of human rights in our country,” Pangilinan said.
“We also call on the US government to hold to account all Filipinos who seek to destabilize, weaken, and destroy internationally recognized human rights and freedoms, such as the freedoms of religion, expression, association, and assembly, and the rights to a fair trial and democratic elections,” Pangilinan said.
“Palayain na si Sen. De Lima. Gusto naming siyang makasama sa miting de avance sa Sabado,” Pangilinan said.