De Lima taunts Duterte over VFA cancellation threat: "Pahiya ka kasi'

Senator Leila De lima /  photo from Philstar

Senator Leila De Lima, a fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, said the threat to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) is an “irrational move” which will not benefit the country.

The detained senator due to drug-related charges, said that only some foreign interest will benefit if the 1999 military pact between the Philippines and United States will be terminated.

“Decisions on matters of national interest should not be based on one man’s pursuit of personal grudge, his bruised ego, or his attempts to look tough when, in truth, he has failed to fulfill his campaign promises and has been, for the last three years making up excuses and crises to cover up his failures,” De Lima said

“The issue about my continued persecution is a matter of fact. Not just the US, but also the United Nations, has looked into my case and has found it so. This is not a matter of naivete on their part, but of utter failure on Duterte’s part,” she said

President Duterte announced that he will terminate the VFA agreement following the cancellation of senator Bato Dela Rosa’s US visa.

On the other hand, Palace cleared that Duterte’s threat has nothing to do with Bato’s visa, but rather due to supposedly violation of US to the sovereignty of the Philippines.

Earlier, US senators like Richard Durbin, Patrick Leahy, and Edward Markey called out the Philippine government to free De Lima from jail.

The said senators also introduced an amendment to the 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill which sought to deny entry to the US territory the individuals who are proven behind the alleged persecution of De Lima.

Last December 20, US President Donald Trump signed the 2020 national budget, which included the said provision.

“Secretary of State shall apply subsection (c) to foreign government officials about whom the Secretary has credible information have been involved in the wrongful imprisonment of… Senator 
Leila De Lima, who was arrested in the Philippines in 2017.” The provision states.

The subsection (c) is the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of the United States, which allows the US to sanction foreign government officials it sees as human rights abusers

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