Through video chat, De Lima seeks comeback

May 1 2017 1:45 PM

Saying she has a duty to perform as elected legislator, detained Senator Leila de Lima will ask the court to allow her to take part in deliberations of important bills in the Senate.

With the technology available, she said she could participate in the debates through electronic means.

De Lima, who is currently jailed at the Philippine National Police-Custodial Center in Camp Crame on charges of illegal drug trade, said her team is studying legal options to take.

Congress resumes sessions on May 2.

The Senate is expected to tackle controversial bills such as the death penalty, lowering of age of criminal responsibility and charter change.

“For more than two months since I was illegally jailed on sham charges, I have refused to allow political persecution and harassment I suffer under the hands of the present administration to prevent me from fulfilling my electoral mandate,” she said.

“I have work to do as a senator and I will continue to do so because I owe it to the more than 14 million Filipino people who voted me in office and represent them in the Senate. I hope I can participate in important debates in the Senate,” she added.

De Lima, chairperson of the committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, continued to file bills and resolution even while in detention.

According to her, detained senators in the past were allowed to perform their legislative duties, including participation in Senate proceedings, while awaiting resolution of their cases.

“I have authored and sponsored important measures I promised the Filipino electorate to shepherd in the Senate. I have an electoral mandate to fulfill and it is my right to attend and participate in the proceedings in the Senate,” she said.

“Apart from my rights as a duly-elected senator, I have to invoke my rights as a political prisoner as provided and protected under Philippine laws and jurisprudence as well as the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights,” she added.

In 1950s, she recalled, former Sen. Justiniano Montano was charged with the non-bailable offense of multiple murders but was allowed to post bail to perform his senatorial duties.

Sometime in 2008, the Senate under the leadership of then Senate President Aquilino Pimentel allowed then detained Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to participate in Senate proceedings through teleconferencing.