De Lima seeks probe on 'sex-for-pass' scheme

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2020 11:12 AM

Detained Sen. Leila de Lima is surrounded by police escorts on her way to court in Quezon City, May 15, 2019. Handout/file

MANILA - Detained Sen. Leila de Lima has filed a resolution urging the Senate to investigate allegations that several policemen handed out quarantine passes in exchange for sex.

The investigation on the "sex-for-pass" scheme seeks to exact "accountability from the perpetrators" and address "gaps in the formulation and implementation of gender-based policies" during times of crisis, De Lima said in Senate Resolution No. 437 filed on June 3, 2020.

"The lack of details concerning issues relating to gender-based violence in the weekly reports submitted by Malacanang to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee... may indicate that the government is not taking this issue as seriously as it should," the senator said.

"Gender-based violence is a serious issue that deserves more than just a passing glance from the national government," she said.

Philippine National Police chief Gen. Archie Gamboa earlier urged victims of the alleged "sex-for-pass" scheme to file charges against purported policemen who abused their authority.

But De Lima said that it is not that easy for victims of rape and violence to file charges against their tormentors.

"Filing complaint against a police officer not only takes a tremendous amount of courage, but also financial resources that are often beyond the means of the victims," the senator said.

"It is also common for victims of rape by law enforcement officials to be threatened or pressured by the perpetrator into withdrawing her complaint," she said.

The Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality -- chaired by De Lima's ally Sen. Risa Hontiveros -- is expected to tackle the resolution after Congress resumes session on July 27, 2020.

De Lima has been detained in police headquarters Camp Crame since February 2017 due to her alleged involvement in the production of illegal drugs in the national penitentiary.

The opposition senator has denied the allegations and claimed she was being politically persecuted for being a vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and his bloody campaign against illegal drugs.