EU delegation visits De Lima at Camp Crame

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2017 09:51 PM

European Union parliamentarians leave the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame Wednesday afternoon after visiting detained Sen. Leila de Lima. The delegation is here on a "fact-sharing mission" on the Philippines' political and human rights situation. ABS-CBN News

MANILA- A 12-member delegation from the European Union visited Sen. Leila de Lima inside her detention cell at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame Wednesday.

The group included four members of the European Parliament's Sub-committee on Human Rights: Soraya Post (Sweden), Adam Kosa (Hungary), Joseph Weidenholzer (Austria), and Rikker Karlsson (Denmark). 

The visit is part of the delegation's four-day "fact-sharing mission" in the Philippines to check on the country's political and human rights situation under President Rodrigo Duterte. 

“I have just visited Sen. De Lima and she seems very good and strong and we discussed her situation," said Post who, in a speech at parliament in March, had called for De Lima's immediate release and an end to extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

"She didn't complain on the police in her detention. She said they are taking care of her there. She says she would love to go to her family and she would also love to go to her work to vote in the Senate,” she said in a brief interview after the visit.

The delegation arrived on board a coaster and a luxury sedan at 3:25 p.m. and stepped out of the PNP Custodial Center shortly before 5 p.m.

They were accompanied by the subcommittee secretariat, as well as Mattias Lentz, acting ambassador of the EU Delegation in the Philippines.

Prior to Wednesday's visit, the delegation, headed by Post, also met Tuesday with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Sen. Risa Hontiveros.

The legislators also met with Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and former Senate President Edgardo Angara, the special envoy to the European Union early Tuesday morning. 

During the discussions, the Philippine side explained that the state does not sanction executions under the drug war and that government is investigating reported killings.

In a statement, De Lima said she was "deeply grateful" for the delegation's visit, saying they looked into her condition as a “prisoner of conscience."

"My guests looked into my condition as a “prisoner of conscience," deprived of liberty for defending human rights, opposing the brazen killings and flagrant violations of human dignity in the wake of Duterte’s murderous war on drugs. I asserted before them my absolute innocence of the accusations against me," she said in a handwritten note released to the media.

De Lima said she and the group discussed the Philippines' human rights situation as well as the administration's priority legislative measures, including the re-imposition of death penalty and the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility. 

The lawmaker, part of the Senate minority, has been fiercely opposing such proposals.
 
"This regime, therefore, should better shape up and stop living in a fantasy world where it believes it can do anything based on one man’s whims. The growing clamor for accountability will ensure that justice will catch up to them," she said, in reference to Duterte.