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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte criticized the United States (U.S.) Wednesday for demanding the release of opposition Senator Leila de Lima, who has been detained since 2017 for drug charges.

Speaking before the awardees for National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ 12th Ani ng Dangal, Duterte explained his decision to terminate the country’s Visiting Forces Agreement with the U.S.

“Every day, in the newspaper and in the halls of the Senate of the United States, we were being portrayed as a Republic incapable of administering simple justice. Araw-araw yan, and sad to say, the other political party used it, at sumakay itong Left and some of them are already employed in the US Congress as employees,” according to the President.

“But when the Senate placed in the colatilla doon sa mga aid, aid na naibigay, na tayo being portrayed as incapable of investigating extrajudicial killings, but most of all, we were pictured to have persecuted and committed a grave injustice to a certain person. I am referring to de Lima,” he added.

Duterte maintained that the case of de Lima, former chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and Secretary of the Department of Justice, went through a proper legal procedure.

“They were demanding that we release de Lima. Si de Lima, dumaan ng imbestigasyon. And the investigation had been brought to the Supreme Court to decide whether or not everything was in order, and the Supreme Court said it is.

“Ang problema nitong Amerikano, they kept on hammering and demanding the release, and then threatening na ‘yung mga Filipino officials in government who were one way or another connected with the case, whether as a investigator or a prosecutor or even the Supreme Court, which rendered an opinion on a certain point to the case, lahat, hindi naman sinabi, not in so many words, but said that they will cancel or deny entry,” he said.

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