MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – As far as we know, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is still inside London’s Ecuadorian embassy, seeking refuge from attempts to extradite him to the US where he is facing espionage charges. (We’ll let our venerable Facebook fact checkers Rappler and Vera Files to confirm or deny that for us.)
But this story is about Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reportedly being open to granting Assange political asylum in the Philippines. This comes just hours after Duterte said he is open to accepting Rohingya refugees who are reportedly facing political persecution in Myanmar because of their Islam faith. Myanmar is predominantly a Buddhist country.
”Granting Assange asylym will show to the world that I am all for freedom of speech — contrary to the gossip being spread by Maria Ressa, CEO of the Yellow propaganda blog, Rappler ,” Duterte told The Adobo Chronicles.
Duterte’s statement on Assange is also seen as a rebuke of the U.S. government’s recent move to ban Filipinos responsible for the arrest and detention of Senator Leila De Lima (on drug charges) and the filing of criminal charges against Ressa for violation of the Constitution, tax evasion and cyber libel.
We tried to seek the comment of officials of the US Embassy in Manila but they were off for the Christmas holiday.