Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has deplored the unreasonable efforts by the Philippine National Police (PNP) from keeping the media away from her when she attended her hearing at the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 34 last June 13.
De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, maintained she has the right to speak with the media in the same way that the media has also the right to ask her questions.
“May karapatan po sila, ang media. Hayaan niyo sila. And it’s also my right to say something, to express things,” she said while the police escorts tried to block reporters’ cameras from recording her statements.
It was not the first time that the police security authorities prevented the covering media from talking to De Lima. In her previous public outings, police escorts have always tried to block reporters from approaching the Senator to get an interview.
At yesterday’s hearing, the government’s prosecution team presented its second witness, Perfecto Camero, the team leader of the Photo Coverage Team in the House of Representatives who took the photo of the alleged text message between Hannah Mae Dayan and De Lima.
The said photo, which was shown by Hannah Mae Dayan during the House Committee on Justice hearing, was used by the private complainants in filing the instant “Disobedience to Summons” case against De Lima.
The Senator from Bicol likewise slammed Duterte, whom she labelled as “pure evil,” for launching continuous tirades against the Catholic Church which she believed have triggered the recent spate of killings of priests.
“Ginagawa niyang Davao ang buong Pilipinas. Pinapatay ang mga mahihirap, mga bata, mga walang kalaban-laban. Ngayon naman mga pari,” she said, referring to the former Davao Mayor.
“Sino ang isusunod nila? Ano pa bang kademonyohan ang pwedeng gawin, kayang gawin ng Iglesia ni Duterte?” she asked.
Among the priests who were recently gunned down by unidentified assailants who fled on motorcycles include Fr. Richmond Nilo on June 10, Fr. Mark Ventura on April 28, and Fr. Marcelito Paez, on Dec. 4, 2017
Fr. Rey Urmenta, a former PNP chaplain, was severely wounded but survived an ambush in Calamba, Laguna last June 6.
De Lima said the Church leaders should take immediate action and exert concerted efforts in condemning the spate of killings of priests.
“Tignan niyo naman ang nangyayari, maski pari hindi na safe. Dapat ho talaga kumilos na rin ho ang mga pamunuan ng Simbahan,” she said.