THE Department of Justice yesterday rejected the pleas of several United States senators for the Philippine government to drop the criminal charges filed against opposition Sen. Leila de Lima and journalist Maria Ressa.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra explained that the appeal of American senators was hinged on the wrong premise that the rights of De Lima and Ressa were violated with their indictment.
”These five US senators have obviously been fed with wrong information,” he said.
Guevarra was referring to US Senators Marco Rubio, Edward Markey, Richard Durbin, Marsha Blackburn and Chris Coons.
He pointed out the cases against de Lima and Ressa involved illegal drugs and tax evasion, libel and violation of the anti-dummy law, respectively, and have nothing to do with human rights or press freedom.
”Sen. de Lima and Maria Ressa were charged with violation of Philippine laws, were given ample opportunity to present controverting evidence and were found to be probably guilty of the crimes charged. They are now undergoing a fair trial in a court of law,” Guevarra stressed.