By Daniel Llanto i FilAm Star Correspondent
Malacañang vehemently denounced the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in the U.S. for passing a resolution expressing support for detained Sen. Leila de Lima and journalist Maria Ressa as well as condemning President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs, the same subject of a resolution signed by five U.S. senators just recently.
Presidential spokesman and chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo described last Saturday the latest attack from American lawmakers as a “toxic” and “unacceptable” intrusion in the Philippine legal process.
Panelo said he found it “astonishingly incredible and amazingly perplexing” that “men and women of arts and letters” like the San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors could believe “false narratives” about the drug war.
These narratives and “bogus” statistics, he added, were relayed to the board by “biased news agencies, anti-Duterte trolls and a biased alleged labor and environmental activist from San Francisco and Richmond.”
He said the San Francisco supervisors have “either developed an amnesia or have not outgrown their colonial mentality.”
The resolution of the San Franciso Board of Supervisors condemned the war on drugs for supposedly taking thousands of lives “without due process.”
For this reason, the SF legislative body urged the U.S. government to “divest” from the Duterte administration and called for a congressional probe on the “consequences” of American tax dollars being used to support the Philippine military and the police.
It also adopted congressional resolutions urging the Philippine government to immediately release De Lima, drop all charges against Ressa and her news website Rappler, recognize the importance of human rights defenders and their work and guarantee the right to the freedom of the press.
In its resolution, the San Francisco board pointed out that the city and county are “home and continues to be the port of entry to a significant immigrant Filipino community with a population of 36,479 individuals many of whom continue to support family and maintain close ties with the Philippines.”
It added that “many San Franciscans are either directly impacted or deeply concerned about the plight of those in the Philippines who are victims of the government’s drug war and martial law in Mindanao.”
Panelo said the American lawmakers “should be shaken from their stupor and wake up to the fact that the Philippines has long ceased to be a colony of the United States and will never be a vassal to it.”
He noted that the cases of De Lima, Ressa and opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV are being tried before local courts, which belong to a separate and independent branch of the government. He said the three have been afforded their rights to due process.
“Their criminal prosecution is anchored on their transgressions of our laws and it has absolutely nothing to do with their being critical of the administration,” Panelo said. “Other harsher critics do not face any criminal complaint simply because they have not violated any law but just exercising their freedom of speech.”
He maintained that the extra-judicial killings or deaths arising from drug-related killings are neither state-initiated nor sponsored as he cited the number of policemen who were killed during anti-drug operations.
Panelo stressed that the administration does not tolerate abuses, citing the dismissal and prosecution of a Manila police officer tagged in the killing of an epileptic in a false drug raid, and the conviction of three Caloocan police officers for the killing of a teenager.
He said foreign politicians and international human rights groups are vulnerable to the “misinformation” peddled by Duterte’s critics.
“Failing in convincing the majority of Filipinos of their peddled falsities against the President, the few vociferous anti-Duterte personalities turn to foreign politicians or international human rights groups vulnerable to misinformation and gullible to untruthful narrations against this administration,” Panelo added.