By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday (Feb. 25) expressed his hope that the United States government will exercise prudence before deciding whether to ban Philippine government prosecutors involved in the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima.
Guevarra made the call after De Lima revealed she submitted to the U.S. a list of government prosecutors who should be banned from going to the United States for their participation in her lock-up.
“I trust that the U.S. State Dept. will do its own independent evaluation and exercise prudence and circumspection,” he told reporters.
On the other hand, Guevarra said he is “not interested to know who are in her list.”
De Lima, a vocal critic of President Duterte, has been detained for the past three years at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
She is currently facing drug charges before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) over allegations of being involved in the proliferation of the narcotics trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Last year, President Donald Trump approved the 2020 budget of the U.S. government which includes provisions authorizing the State Department to prevent the entry of Philippine officials involved in the “wrongful” detention of De Lima.
Last month, retired Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and current senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa revealed that the U.S. government had canceled his 10-year U.S. visa without any reason.
Following this, President Duterte ordered the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the U.S.