Dispatch from Crame No. 784: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on her Exclusion from Participating in Senate Sessions via Teleconferencing


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The decision of the Senate leadership to exclude me from participating in Senate sessions via teleconferencing, under amended rules to be adopted, is nothing but a continuation of this administration’s efforts to silence me and prevent me from fully performing my duties as a Senator.

Foul and unfair! This is petty politics.

SP Sotto’s statement that the jurisdiction of the courts and the PNP over my person prevents me from participating in Senate sessions via teleconferencing is completely and absolutely misinformed. The ruling of the Supreme Court on this matter is clear. The only limitation brought about by my detention is my mobility and ability to travel. As long as I stay in the detention center, there is nothing that prevents me from performing my job as a duly-elected Senator. The jurisdiction of the court is not affected by my participation in Senate hearings via electronic means.

The Senate could have adopted changes in the Rules to allow teleconferencing the same time as the House of Representatives when they called for a special session to enact the Bayanihan Act. Can’t help thinking that the Senate resisted the rule-change, likely because it would have allowed me to participate in that Session.

Now, there is pressure to amend the Rules to allow members to participate in hearings and sessions via teleconferencing and they make up an inexistent rule or reason that supposedly prevents me from doing even that. I reckon that if I were not a member of the opposition there would have been no ifs and buts in allowing me to participate remotely, just like everybody else, under the proposed new rules.

Remember that a Resolution (S. Res. No. 51) was previously filed, jointly by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Panfilo Lacson, pushing for my participation in sessions via teleconferencing or similar means. Are my other colleagues now saying that the arguments presented in said Resolution, and backed up by sound legal principles and case law, are wrong?

If my colleagues really believe in the role of the Senate in our democracy, I should be allowed to participate regardless of my political affiliation and views.

Malinaw na ayaw lang talaga ng mga nasa kapangyarihan na ipalahok ako sa mga deliberasyon sa Senado. Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan. Kung gugustuhin, hahanap ng paraan. Di ba?

And they say there’s no persecution in my case. Really? ###

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 784 here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_784)

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