Dispatch from Crame No. 166: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s statement on PNP’s refusal for APHR visit

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“Martial Law na ba?” This was my immediate reaction when the delegates of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) led by Tian Chua and Charles Santiago, both members of Parliament of Malaysia, together with members of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives, Reps Tom Villarin and Teddy Baguilat, Jr., were not allowed to see me yesterday, despite compliance with the 10-day prior notice rule.

This is not the first time though that an international visitor was barred from entering my detention quarters. Last July 22, Liberal International (LI) President Juli Minoves was also prevented from visiting me due to an “administrative excuse.”

This time, my staff were told that the papers got stuck at the level of the Office of the Directorate for Intelligence Services. Apparently, it’s not the fault of the Custodial Center officials but of “higher ups.”

I ask – why was there no action on the request of the APHR delegation which was a virtual denial of such request? Was it because of the strong statement APHR issued sometime last month, and reiterated at a presscon yesterday, denouncing my unjust detention and calling for my immediate, unconditional release?

I further ask: Why is this regime doing this? They have already incarcerated me based on trumped-up drug charges, persecuted me with all the lies to destroy my dignity and womanhood, and now, they are denying my visitors, in particular, foreign leaders, to speak with me.

I brace for more acts of repression as this regime parries mounting public outrage and protest actions over successive and pervasive issues of incompetence, corruption and impunity.

But I will not be cowed…

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