De Lima slams authorities’ growing disregard for civil, political rights of civilians


Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has called for a Senate investigation into the cases of growing disregard for basic civil and political rights among law enforcers, especially during quarantine period.

In filing Senate Resolution (SR) No. 490, De Lima cited the unlawful seizure of protest materials during a mass at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila before the President’s the State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 27.

“This incident is the latest outrage committed by agents of the administration during the quarantine period, following the massacre of army intelligence personnel by policemen in Sulu, and the threatened deportation of an Overseas Filipino Worker in Taiwan who criticized the government on social media,” she said.

“These acts evidence a growing disregard for basic civil and political rights among our law enforcement personnel,” she added.

Reportedly, Philippine National Police (PNP) officials clad in fatigue uniforms entered Quiapo Church while the Liturgy of the Word was being celebrated and forcibly took the personal property of a churchgoer, including, among others, placards and other materials intended for use at a mass activity during SONA later in the day.

The incident happened following the statement of NCRPO Chief PM/Gen. Debold Sinas warning that individuals who would show placards along Commonwealth Avenue amid Duterte’s SONA would immediately be arrested and processed in Camp Karingal where PNP lawyers would determine which charges would be lodged against them.

Notably, however, these statements of General Sinas were directly controverted by those of Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra saying that placards containing one’s expressions on national issues are covered by the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.

De Lima pointed out that the policemen in the Quiapo church incident failed to present a warrant, court order, or any other lawful process authorizing the seizure of the aforementioned personal property.

“Aside from being an ipso facto violation of the Bill of Rights, the above-mentioned seizure, being attended by violence against or intimidation of persons, quite possibly constitutes robbery as defined by the Revised Penal Code,” she said.

“Considering that the above act interrupted a religious ritual as it was being celebrated at one of the holiest sites of Philippine Catholicism, also constitutes a crime against religious worship,” she added. (30)

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
Rm. 502 & 16 (New Wing 5/F) GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Diokno Blvd., Pasay City

Trunk Lines:
(632) 552-6601 to 70 local no. 5750

Direct Lines:
807-8489 / (Rm. 16) 807-8580 /local 8619

© 2019 Office of Sen. Leila de Lima. All rights reserved.