THE Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international organization of lawmakers based in Switzerland, has sent a three-person fact finding mission to the Philippines to ascertain the condition of detained Senator Leila de Lima.
Fawzia Koofi, a lawmaker from Afghanistan and IPU Committee on Human Rights president, told reporters that the fact finding mission is visiting the Philippines “on behalf of the IPU, the Interparliamentary Union Human Rights Committee to see and assess the situation of detention for Sen. Leila de Lima.”
Koofi said the team has already met with Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel whom she described to be very cooperative as they discussed with him the arrest and detention of Sen. De Lima.
“Tomorrow and the next days we will also meet other relevant officials to get first hand information because her case was presented in the IPU assembly and on behalf of the Committee, the IPU as a body, expressed concern over human rights violation of a member of the Senate in the Philippines which is Sen. De Lima,” said Koofi.
She added:”That’s why the Assembly decided to have a mission to the Philippines. We will also meet her on Wednesday to get her information about her arrest.”
Asked about his meeting with the IPU team, Pimentel said ”They just came here to thank me for inviting them and making their visit pleasant so far. They are the ones concerned with Sen. de lima so let them do their job.”
Meanwhile, Pimentel advised De Lima to continue her quest for liberty so she could personally attend Senate sessions to vote on ladmark measures.
This was Pimentel’s response to De Lima’s letter dated may 11 requesting him “for an expression of support for my desire to occasionally be granted furlough by the court in charge of my detention, for purposes of voting on crucial landmark legislation, on a case-to-case basis.”
“Try, try, try. Wala namang masama–through motions that are filed by your lawyers,” Pimentel advised De Lima.\
“Nasa jurisprudence that detention says you accept the reality that if you detained, you cannot do some things. Tingnan lang natin. Alam mo through motions, the courts can be convinced of having a new way of looking at a circumstance. Through motions. Iyun lang ang gusto kong sabihin,” he said.
“Ang rule sa Senado ay personal is required for you to vote. If you are under detention, you ask temporary permission to leave your detention place to vote,” said Pimentel.
De Lima, a fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and his war on drugs, is detained at the Philippine National Police headquarters due to illegal drugs related charges which stemmed during her term as justice secretary of the preceding Aquino administration.
She denies the charges and insisted that it is a part of scheme to silence her vocal opposition to the President’s bloody war on illegal drugs, which now reportedly claimed the lives of more than 9,000 people.