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EMPATHY | Senator, a former police detainee, appeals to relax restrictions on jailed colleague
June 7, 2020 , 10:11 AM

By Manny Mogato

(June 07, 2020) – An administration lawmaker who spent some years inside a police detention cell on corruption charges, has appealed to the national police to allow family members and staff of a detained colleague to visit her.

In a statement on Sunday, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. said the Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership and its Custodial Center should restore visitation privileges on Senator Leila de Lima.

“I have been there. Yung ang tanging hinihintay mo sa pagdating ng bukas ay makita ang mga bisita mo, magkaroon ng kausap, at ng human interaction maski papaano gaanong kalimitado man ito,” Revilla said, “Tapos, ipagkakait pa sa iyo. Hindi po biro ang mapag-isa sa selda.”

De Lima who has been detained since February 2017 on drug-related charges, which she described as fabrications to silence her, has been held incommunicado from April 15. Her jailers said it was a measure to protect detainees from contracting a deadly coronavirus.

Revilla is the latest member of the upper house to appeal on behalf of de Lima after three opposition senators sent emails to General Archie Gamboa to allow visitors to see de Lima, calling it a violation of her rights as well as international norms and the country’s constitution. Gamboa seemed to ignore the letter and has to respond yet.

Revilla, who was linked to a fund scam, spent five years in the same facility where de Lima was detained . He said De Lima should be allowed to see visitors for humanitarian reasons.

The lawmaker pointed out that the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila has been lifted since May 15, and that the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) has been in effect for a week already.

He said this should be taken into consideration in De Lima’s current situation. “Compassion is very important in these trying times,” he stressed, adding that he is fully confident in the competence of the PNP Custodial Center in implementing social distancing and safety guidelines for visitors and their detention prisoner,” he added.

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