MANILA – Minority Senators have asked Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III to help reverse the decision of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to require a 10-day notice before anyone can visit detained colleague Senator Leila De Lima.
“Umaasa kami na paninindigan ni Senate President Pimentel ang kanyang mga naging pahayag ukol sa pagiging independent ng Senado. Kasama rito ang pagtiyak ng mga karapatan ng mga kasamahan nya sa Senado at nagagampanan nila ang kanilang mandato kahit nakakulong,” Liberal Party president Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said.
(“We hope that Senate President Pimentel will be able to follow through on his previous assertions of the Senate’s independence which includes ensuring his colleagues in the Senate are provided with their rights and are able to fulfill their constitutional mandate even while incarcerated.”)
In a letter signed Monday, Senators Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Bam Aquino sought the help of the Senate President to reverse the “unreasonable and impractical” requirement set by the PNP headquarters.
“Senator De Lima’s performance of her duties and functions as duly elected Senator of the country should not be hindered by stringent visitation requirements. The Senator must be accessible to the other members of the Senate who wish to discuss legislative matters with her, subject only to reasonable notice,” the letter read.
Pangilinan wrote to PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa asking for clarification regarding this matter.
“Umaasa kaming aaksyon si PNP Chief Dela Rosa sa pakiusap namin tungkol sa biglaang pagpataw ng 10-day advance notice na ito. Hindi kami nabigyan ng pormal na abiso ukol sa panibagong requirement na ito. Nalaman lang namin ito mula sa pakikipag-usap namin sa Opisina ni Senator De Lima. Hindi naman kinailangan ang ganitong notice noong mga nakaraang pagbisita ng mga Senador,” the LP president said.
(“We hope that PNP Chief Dela Rosa will act on our request regarding the sudden imposition of this 10-day advance notice. We were not given formal notification regarding this new requirement. We only learned of this upon coordination with the Office of Senator De Lima. Such notice was not required for previous visits by Senators.”)
The police chief previously said that anyone given clearance by Senator De Lima herself can visit her. However, the Minority Senators were informed by De Lima’s office that they are now required to comply to the new PNP requirement.