Muntinlupa RTC allows election furlough for De Lima

Maris Federez   •   May 7, 2019   •   1916

File photo: Senator Leila de Lima

The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 has allowed Senator Leila de Lima to vote in the Midterm Elections on Monday, May 13.

De Lima will be accompanied by her police escorts from the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame to Sta Rita School in Parañaque City.

The Court gave de Lima two hours to vote from 12 noon to 2:00 in the afternoon.

The Court, however, did not allow that her to be recorded on video while voting nor to be interviewed by the members of the media.

De Lima will be the one to shoulder the expenses in going to Parañaque City and in returning to Camp Crame. (with details from Mai Bermudez)

De Lima formally announces bid for Senate reelection in 2022 polls

Marje Pelayo   •   July 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Leila de Lima has formally announced her bid for reelection in the 2022 national polls.

In a press release issued by her camp, De Lima said “the political persecution she has been subjected to by the Duterte regime only strengthened her resolve to fight for her advocacies.”

De Lima said her “unjust detention” prompted her to seek reelection and work harder “to defend human rights at all cost.”

The lady senator earlier chided President Rodrigo Duterte for failing to fulfill all of his campaign promises.

This, she expressed through a letter to the Chief Executive days before Duterte’s sixth and final state of the nation address (SONA).

Among the issues she referred to include illegal drugs, corruption, the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and the state of the country’s economy.

“Mahigit na apat na taon mo na akong ipinakulong para maitago ang iyong pagka-inutil, bukod pa sa paghihiganti mo sa akin. Mahigit na apat na taon na ipinagkait mo sa akin, sa aking pamilya, at sa labing-apat na milyon na bumoto sa akin. Mahigit na apat na taon na akin ngayong sisingilin sa pagtatapos ng iyong termino,” she said.

“Tatakbo akong muli. Hindi ako susuko. Tuloy ang laban. Sisingilin ka namin sa anim na taon na pambabalasubas mo sa aming bansa,” De Lima stressed.

Considered as Duterte’s staunchest critic, De Lima is known for her strong opposition to the current administration’s “murderous and failed” war on drugs which she claimed to have resulted in the death of thousands of suspected drug offenders.

She has been in detention since February 24, 2017 over drug charges.

De Lima dismayed over court’s dismissal of motion to join Senate ‘hybrid’ sessions

Robie de Guzman   •   June 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima on Friday expressed dismay over the decision of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 205 to junk her motion seeking to join the “hybrid” Senate sessions and hearing while in detention at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame for drug-related charges.

“In denying my motion, the trial court may have failed to see what the Supreme Court has doctrinally acknowledged in the cases of Jalosjos and Trillanes that it is possible for a person deprived of liberty (PDL) to still legally pursue a profession or legitimately perform the functions of a public office as long as he or she can do it within the confines of his or detention cell,” De Lima said in a statement.

“As the Senate rules now allow for teleconferencing as a mode of participating in sessions and hearings in crisis or emergency situations or pandemic, I can easily do it if I will be provided with a laptop and internet connection, without need for me to get out of the PNP Custodial Center,” she added.

It can be recalled that on May 4, the Senate amended its rules to allow both physical and online attendance to legislative proceedings in a bid to prevent the possible transmission of novel coronavirus disease among its members and employees.

However, De Lima was still not allowed to participate in “virtual” sessions as Senate leadership claimed that she is “not under the chamber’s jurisdiction.”

The opposition senator maintained that disallowing her from taking part in online sessions, hearings, and meetings of the Senate “prevents her from fully performing her mandate as a lawmaker.”

“With all due respect to the Honorable Court, allowing my online participation in the Senate sessions will not negate the fact that I am still in prison. What the court permission can do however is to pay full respect to the mandate that I received from the Filipino people as a sitting Senator,” De Lima said.

“Please note that there is no civil interdiction imposed on me by any court, thus, there should be no unreasonable restrictions on my rights and legitimate interests,” she added.

She also asserted that she is still in “full possession” of her civil and political rights as her cases as still at the trial stage and has not been convicted of any crime.

De Lima filed her omnibus motion on June 1.

But in a Joint Order dated June 17, Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205, presided by Judge Liezel Aquitan denied De Lima’s motion, concluding that “the presumption of innocence does not carry with it the full enjoyment of civil and political rights.”

The court also said that the amendment in the Senate rules states that hearings and sessions via teleconferencing in the upper chamber are only allowed when there is force majeure or an emergency which may prevent senators from physically attending.

“De Lima is prevented to attend the committee meeting or hearings due to her detention. Detention is not a force majeure,” the court order read.

The court said that allowing De Lima to attend the Senate sessions, hearings, and meetings via teleconferencing within her place of detention is “no different from allowing her to attend there physically.”

“Allowing her to do so today would be tantamount to allowing her to participate even after the state of public health emergency,” it added.

De Lima said she is planning to file a motion for reconsideration.

De Lima, one of Duterte administration’s fierce critics, has been detained since 2017 over her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade while she was Justice Secretary. She has repeatedly denied the charges.

De Lima calls on COVID-19 task force to release qualified detainees to decongest prisons

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 2, 2020

Senator Leila de Lima is urging the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to consider releasing qualified detainees in order to decongest prisons and prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL).

In a statement, De Lima said the government should not to forget those behind bars and to protect those working in closed facilities.

She also said that due to the congestion of detention facilities, PDL’s cannot practice social distancing which makes them more at risk in contracting the disease.

Even with the enhanced community quarantine, De Lima said the number of arrested individuals keep piling up which leads detention centers to exceed its full capacity.

“Given the state of our jails and prisons, the infection rate will be catastrophic. We thus offer a solution: decongest our jails and prisons through a systematic release of qualified PDLs on humanitarian grounds,” she said.

The qualifications proposed by the senator are:

  • Elder PDLs – 70 years old and above
  • PDLs with serious illness or disability
  • PDLs detained, pre-conviction, for minor non-violent offenses
  • PDLs convicted for minor non-violent crimes

De Lima also stressed that those who committed heinous crimes should not be among being considered for early release.

“If done properly, we would be able to free up additional resources to improve the nutrition and sanitation in the jails and prisons for the remaining PDLs. This will also ease some pressure on the jail and prison health care facilities,” she said. AAC

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