Some may have thought that getting the U.S. State Department to ban the entry of Philippine officials involved in the detention of Philippine Sen Leila de Lima was already a big win for U.S. Senators Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy, and Ed Markey.
But on Wednesday, the trio in the Senate showed they were not yet done.
In a privilege speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Durbin talked about what became a tit for tat with the Philippine government.
“President of the Philippines President Duterte announced that he was banning Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, as well as myself and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts from ever visiting the Philippines. I was kind of shocked to see that, I didn’t expect it.”
A resolution is pending in the House of Representatives – introduced by 6 lawmakers, and sponsored by California Congresswoman Jackie Speier.
House Resolution 233 also condemns De Lima’s imprisonment and calls for the Philippine government to release her.
As for Sen Durbin, he insisted that all of these efforts play a big role in shaping the future of U.S. – Philippine relations.
“In the end, her freedom and the end of Government harassment of journalists like Maria Ressa will be important tests of the cherished democratic norms, we share with our long-standing Filipino allies will be respected by President Duterte.”
Ultimately for Durbin, this will cement America’s image as a champion of human rights and democracy around the world.