Statement of Minority Senators Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Kiko Pangilinan on PNP mulling reopening custodial center to visitors

May 31, 2020

We welcome the positive response of the Philippine National Police to our letter regarding Senator Leila De Lima, who has been put in solitary confinement since April 25.

International Human Rights Law prohibits solitary confinement, and for it to only be used in exceptional circumstances. Nelson Mandela himself, esteemed world leader and political prisoner for 27 years, described solitary confinement as “the most forbidding aspect of prison life.”

One is not allowed visitors and physical meetings, rendering one incommunicado. It is inhumane. It is unhealthy, and physically and mentally taxing. It is against our most basic human rights.

Now that we are entering General Community Quarantine, we urge the Philippine National Police to reconsider Sen. Leila De Lima’s case. Surely, with the easing of restrictions brought by the Enhanced Community Quarantine, this also applies to the protocols of the police for persons deprived of liberty.

While most of the world continues to be in quarantine, it’s more so for those who are illegally detained.

Rights know no prison. Rights know no lockdown.

The plight of Senator Leila De Lima and all those who are unjustly detained will never be forgotten. The world continues to watch.