AS she marks her fourth year in detention today, four of Senator Leila de Lima’s colleagues have crossed party lines and moved to allow her to participate in plenary sessions and conduct committee hearings through teleconferencing or other forms of electronic communications.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Minority Senators — Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, and Risa Hontiveros — jointly filed Senate Resolution 658 as De Lima marked her 1,462nd day at Camp Crame Detention Facility.
The four stressed that there is available technology to allow De Lima to perform her functions as a duly-elected lawmaker.
On July 31, 2019, Senators Drilon and Panfilo Lacson filed Senate Resolution 51, entitled “Resolution Allowing Senator Leila M. De Lima to participate in plenary through teleconferencing, video conferencing, or other forms of remote or electronic communications.” It is still pending at committee level.
The Senate on May 4, 2020 adopted Resolution 43 allowing the conduct of plenary sessions and committee hearings through teleconference, video conference, or other reliable forms of remote electronic means due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Through this, the Senate and its committees have been conducting plenary sessions and committee hearings through remote and electronic means.
After the Supreme Court allowed litigants to appear before the courts via teleconferencing, Camp Crame established three existing facilities within its grounds to allow De Lima to attend her court hearings via remote access from her detention center.
They added that in the case of then-Senator Antonio Trillanes, jurisprudence allows detained legislators to perform their as long as they are done within the confines of their detention centers as ruled by the Supreme Court.
As a duly elected member of the Senate of the 18th Congress, De Lima must be accorded “the privilege of participating in its plenary sessions and committee hearings via remote access,” they said.