De Lima lawyer barred from seeing client


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The lawyer of detained Senator Leila M. de Lima, former senatorial candidate and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, was prevented by the Philippine National Police (PNP) from seeing his client this morning at the Camp Crame Custodial Center.

Diokno, along with priest Father Flavie Villanueva, and De Lima’s chief-of-staff Atty. Fhillip Sawali, presented their IDs and waited outside the Custodial Center for about an hour in the hope that they would be allowed entry to visit the detained Senator.

“Tayo ay nasa Camp Crame ngayon para kay Senator Leila de Lima. Pero nung kami’y pumasok sa Custodial Center, ay hindi kami pinayagang bumisita. Sabi daw ay hintayin daw namin yung request sa itaas,” said Diokno.

“Nangarap tayong pumasyal sa ating butihing Senador na si Leila de Lima. Ngunit mahigit bente minutos ng pag-aantay, wala ring nangyari. Nagdahilan na may proseso raw silang sinusunod. Nagdahilan na isinampa na raw nila ang request. Nagdahilan na sumusunod lang sila sa batas.,” Villanueva added.

Despite the inviolable right of detained persons of access to their lawyer at any time of day and night, the PNP continues to refuse to allow any kind of visit to De Lima, whether by her immediate family, her lawyers, or office staff.

De Lima has not been seen by anyone from outside of the Custodial Center since April 25, 2020.

Diokno and Sawali maintained that preventing De Lima to have access to her lawyers, doctors, priests, and counsellors, which are all considered essential visitors, is a violation of her rights.

“Ang nasa Republic Act 748, may right to visit ang lawyer, ang priest, at ang pamilya ng mga detained,” Diokno said.

“Bawal po ito sa ating full Constitution. Tinatawag po itong incommunicado detention. May mga batas din po tayo at mga international standards and laws, kagaya ng Mandela Rules, na karapatan po ng sinomang nakakulong ang reasonable contact to the outside world,” Sawali added.

While he respects the job of the police force, Villanueva said he will not allow the government to use them to oppress De Lima, who only wants to properly fulfill her mandate as a sitting Senator of the Republic.

“Sa ating mga mambabatas at mga pulis, saludo kami sa inyo. Ginagampanan niyo ang inyong tungkulin. Saludo kami sa inyong pagtatanggol, pero hindi namin sasangayunan ang katiwalian na inyong ginagawa, at pag ginagamit kayo, at kinakasangkapan. God bless you,” Villanueva said.

Meanwhile, Diokno and Sawali urged the PNP to remove the unreasonable restrictrictions imposed upon De Lima and respect her rights as a Filipino citizen and Senator.

“Dapat ay igalang nila ang karapatang pantao ng lahat, at si Sen. Leila naman ay presumed innocent [dahil naka-pending pa lang naman ang kaso niya. She should be treated as such],” Diokno said.

“Amin pong dine-demand sa mga awtoridad, lalo na po dito sa PNP na tanggalin na ang mga unreasonable restrictions, personal and work-related restrictions kay Senator Leila de Lima upang mabalik na yung kanyang karapatan sa mga essential na pagbisita at mga work-related meetings na lubha niya pong kinakailangan bilang nakakulong at bilang ating Senador,” Sawali added.

In a May 23 letter to PNP chief General Archie Gamboa, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and opposition senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan has tagged the action of the PNP as “unconstitutional, illegal, and violates the cardinal precept of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Politial Rights that solitary confinement and incommunicado detention are universally outlawed.”

De Lima, the staunchest critic of the administration’s war on drugs, has been detained since Feb. 24, 2017 over trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the government to malign and silence her. (30)

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