MANILA, 24 (DPA / EP)
The spokesman of the Philippine Government, Salvador Panelo, announced on Friday the beginning of the procedures to dissolve the agreement that regulates the US military presence in the country after the United States prohibited entry to all Philippine government positions involved in the imprisonment from Senator Leila De Lima.
Lima entered prison in 2017 accused of drug trafficking, but the senator argues that it is a political persecution for expressing her dissatisfaction with the drug campaign initiated by the country's president, Rodrigo Duterte, denounced by multiple NGOs for her brutality .
Duterte announced Thursday its intention to eliminate the agreement if the United States did not reverse its decision, but today Panelo has declared that the Philippines will not wait for the US response. “The (dissolution) process has begun, Panelo said. At the same time, the spokesman has confirmed that his country has taken reciprocal measures against a delegation of US senators who tried to visit De Lima.
Particularly bleeding for Duterte has been the specific ban against one of the president's main allies, Senator Roland 'Bato' dela Rosa, former head of the Philippine National Police and architect, precisely, of the deadly war on drugs launched under his Administration.
The so-called Agreement of the Visiting Forces (FVA) allows Washington to send troops to the Philippine ports and conduct large joint military exercises.
DETENTION OF SENATOR LEILA DE LIMA
The American senator Edward Markey has condemned the attitude of the Philippine Government when prohibiting the entry into the country of the US delegation.
“President Duterte is very wrong if he thinks he will silence me and my colleagues,” Markey said during a press conference. Markey is the third senator subjected to sanctions by Manila and has indicated that Duterte has failed to try to silence De Lima and all those who “tell the truth.”
“I am with the people of the Philippines and with the Filipino-American community in the fight for democracy and against the tactics of the Government of Duterte,” he has settled.
The Philippine Police estimates that at least 6,600 suspected drug addicts and traffickers have died in the war on drugs since 2016 as they resisted arrest. For their part, human rights activists claim that more than 20,000 people have died in state operations.