MANILA, Philippines – Opposition lawmakers backed the appeal of Senator Leila de Lima to be allowed to attend sessions and committee hearings on critical measures, and participate during voting.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said he was hoping that the request for “occasional furlough” would get the support by the Senate leadership and its members.
Lagman was among the six lawmakers who visited De Lima late Monday morning at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City where she has been detained on drug-related charges since February 24.
They went there to know De Lima’s condition and discuss with her pressing political issues, including Philippines’ territorial dispute with China. The lawmakers’ meeting with De Lima lasted for one and half hours.
Her other visitors were representatives Emmanuel Billones (Capiz), Edgar Erice (Caloocan), Raul Daza (Northern Samar), Teddy Baguilat Jr. (Ifugao) and Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list).
All, except for Alejano, are members of the Liberal Party.
Lagman cited the following reasons why De Lima should be allowed to participate in legislative undertakings:
(1) As a duly-elected Senator, it is her constitutional right and duty to participate in the voting on important bills
(2)Under the Bill of Rights she is presumed innocent pending her detention
(3) She is not a flight risk as she even voluntarily surrendered to police authorities
(4) Her security escorts can be maximized to assure that she returns to the detention facility at Camp Crame