Minority asks Pimentel to help reverse notice to visit De Lima
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate minority bloc has asked Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III to help reverse a new rule imposing a 10-day notice before visiting detained Senator Leila de Lima. They called the requirement "unreasonable and impractical."
In a letter sent on Monday, September 4, the 5 opposition senators complained that the new requirement was “unreasonable and impractical,” saying De Lima should be accessible to her colleagues who wish to discuss legislative matters with her. (READ: De Lima in jail: 'I never imagined Duterte would be this vindictive')
The letter was signed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, senators Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV.
“In this regard, may we request the Senate President’s assistance in seeking a reversal of the unreasonable 10-day notice requirement,” they said.
Pangilinan, president of the opposition Liberal Party, expressed hope that Pimentel would stand by his word that the Senate is an “independent” body. Pimentel is a staunch administration ally and president of the ruling party PDP-Laban.
“Umaasa kami na paninindigan ni Senate President Pimentel ang kanyang mga naging pahayag ukol sa pagiging independent ng Senado. Kasama rito ang pagtiyak ng mga karapatan ng mga kasamahan nya sa Senado at nagagampanan nila ang kanilang mandato kahit nakakulong,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
(We hope that Senate President Pimentel will stand by his previous assertions of the Senate’s independence which includes ensuring his colleagues in the Senate are provided with their rights and are able to fulfill their constitutional mandate even while incarcerated.)
Why the new rule?
Opposition senators said such rule was not in place in previous visits to De Lima, the fiercest critic of President Rodrigo Duterte. They said visitors could usually go inside the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame upon clearance by De Lima herself.
The senators said they only found out about the new rule when they coordinated with the detained senator’s office on August 25.
“This is unreasonable and impractical. Senator Leila de Lima’s performance of her duties and function as a duly-elected senator of the country should not be hindered by stringent visitation requirements,” the minority bloc said.
Pangilinan also earlier wrote to Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa asking for clarification about the matter.
“Umaasa kaming aaksyon si PNP Chief Dela Rosa sa pakiusap namin tungkol sa biglaang pagpataw ng 10-day advance notice na ito. Hindi kami nabigyan ng pormal na abiso ukol sa panibagong requirement na ito. Nalaman lang namin ito mula sa pakikipag-usap namin sa Opisina ni Senator De Lima. Hindi naman kinailangan ang ganitong notice noong mga nakaraang pagbisita ng mga Senador,” Pangilinan said.
(We hope that PNP Chief Dela Rosa will act on our request regarding the sudden imposition of this 10-day advance notice. We were not given formal notification regarding this new requirement. We only learned of this upon coordination with the Office of Senator De Lima. Such notice was not required for previous visits by Senators.)
Dela Rosa previously said that anyone given clearance by De Lima herself could visit her.
De Lima has been detained for over 6 months now for alleged drug links which she claimed were fabricated. – Rappler.com