Senator Leila M. de Lima has lamented the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) repeated inaction, which is an effective denial, on the visiting requests made by high profile visitors who came to the country to meet with her.
De Lima, who was supposed to meet with the delegates of the Global Progressive Forum (GPF) in her detention center in Camp Crame last Nov. 11, said the seeming tactical denial of high-profile visits legitimizes oppression and political persecution.
“Since there was no action on their request duly made even beyond the 10-day prior notice rule, these foreign dignitaries were effectively denied access to me,” she said in a Dispatch from Crame No. 196.
“What’s happening? These cannot be mere instances of administrative lapses and/or incompetence on the part of PNP authorities. It’s already a deliberate policy of oppression and violation of my rights,” she added.
Last Nov. 11, the delegates of the GPF led by its President Enrique Guerrero Salom, along with Robert Hans Neuser, both of whom are members of the European Parliament, and Paolo Alberti, who is in charge of GPF Press and Communications, were barred from visiting De Lima despite complying with the 10-day required notice rule.
The members of the GPF were the third group of international visitors who were barred from visiting the Senator after Dr. Juli Minoves, President of the Liberal International (LI), on July 22, and the ASEAN Parliament for Human Rights (APHR) delegates led by its Chairperson Charles Santiago, a member of the Parliament of Malaysia, last Sept. 19.
De Lima also cried foul over PNP’s failure to accord even the courtesy of a formal response to her guests’ requests.
She maintained there are no reasons to deny the foreign delegates their right to visit and check on her condition because there is no rule or law that bans such visits.
“These are not terrorists or in any way threats to national security or public order. These are dignitaries of considerable stature in their respective countries, and even globally as members of the Global Progressive Forum. This is so wrong and unjust,” she said.
Condemning her continued oppression, De Lima asked for the respect of her rights, which include, among others, allowing visitors to see her.
“I demand respect for my rights, among them visitors’ access, as a detention prisoner who is constitutionally presumed innocent, as I am truly innocent, and as a sitting and working Senator of the Republic,” she said.
The Senator from Bicol, who has since been subject of shameful and misogynistic attacks by the President, continues to gain support from international groups and leaders despite efforts of the administration to tarnish her reputation.