The politicians in the Philippines have accused the European Union of attempting to meddle in their country’s affairs.
Aquilino Pimentel III, the country’s senate president, accused the bloc of attempting to “micromanage” the nation’s political issues after it called for the release of a detained Philippine senator.
He said: “The EU parliament should know its place in the world. It has no right to micromanage Philippine affairs, hence much more no right to micromanage our country.
“The EU parliament has crossed the line. They should step back and do some soul-searching.
Mr Pimentel added: “Mind your own business.”
The senate president’s stark warning comes after the European Parliament this week condemned the arrest of Philippine senator Leila De Lima.
Ms De Lima was arrested last month on drug-related charges after strongly criticising Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte’s hardline war on drugs.
The EU expressed concerns that the charges had been “almost entirely fabricated”, and noted that Amnesty International “regards senator De Lima as a prisoner of conscience”.
But Salvador Panelo, Mr Duterte’s chief presidential legal counsel, denounced Brussels’ intervention as an attempt to “dictate” how the Philippines deal with citizens arrested on criminal charges.
He said: “They cannot dictate on the Philippine government on what to do with its constituents facing criminal charges nor can they interfere with the judicial processes of our country.”
The Philippine department of foreign affairs issued a statement responding to the European Parliament’s call, advising it to “refrain from influencing” the outcome of De Lima’s case.
It added: “While we recognise the independent standing of the European Parliament within the European Union system, resolutions that are crafted by its members must necessarily possess unimpeachable standards, given the sensitive topic of human rights.”
The president also alleged the driver collected drug protection money for Ms De Lima when she was the country’s justice secretary.
Ms De Lima vehemently denied the charges brought against her, and claimed they had been “manufactured” by allies of Mr Duterte over a series of political disagreements.