Dispatch from Crame No. 90 (On Sen. De Lima’s request to Senate President Pimentel)

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I cannot understand the hostility of the Senate President to a simple request for help from a fellow senator who is in detention to perform her mandate. As the Senate President, he knows that his position entails the obligation that each and every senator’s mandate as vested by the people is accomplished. It is not only his own mandate that is his concern. He is there to look after the other senators and to make sure that they are able to perform their mandate to the extent possible and allowed by law.

To consider my call for assistance in the performance of my mandate as propaganda trivializes the legitimacy of the issue I have raised. It is a request with a practical and straightforward purpose. Communicating said request through an open letter does not detract from the fact that it is still addressed to him for whatever is in his power to do about it.

I do not understand why my simple request is countered with so much condescension and even bitterness. It is even regarded as interference with the courts beyond the common understanding of undue intervention in the functions of a separate branch. A Senate resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on matters of helping detained senators as members of the collegial body is nothing new. It does not dictate upon the courts. The courts would still have the final say on the matter.

However, instead of considering the merits of my request, apparently the Senate President instead has himself dug up jurisprudence against it. Senator Koko Pimentel is the Senate President, not the Secretary of Justice. He is opposing a detained senator’s performance of her mandate as if he was the government prosecutor. He should let the DOJ prosecutors argue against me, and not ahead of them.

In the end, I know that it is still up to Senate President Pimentel and my colleagues how they treat me as a fellow senator. They will have their own personal reasons why they are or are not willing to support the performance of another senator’s mandate. If they are not willing to help a fellow senator then so be it. At least I have shown my 14 million voters that I tried and continue to try to do my best to serve them despite an entire government’s effort to prevent me from doing so.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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