De Lima felt 'frustrated, unjustly treated' after delay in US Congressional delegation's visit

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 20 2022 08:16 PM

Senator Leila De Lima leaves the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court in Muntinlupa City on June 13, 2022 after appearing for her hearing. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file
Senator Leila De Lima leaves the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court in Muntinlupa City on June 13, 2022 after appearing for her hearing. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — Detained former Senator Leila de Lima on Saturday expressed her frustration when the US Congressional delegation's initial attempt to visit her did not push through on Thursday.

De Lima said they complied with all the requirements under the national police's guidelines.

In a statement, De Lima said she was "deeply frustrated and felt unjustly treated" because they informed the Philippine National Police (PNP) of the visit earlier. 

The PNP cited the lack of court approvals in preventing the US congressional delegation, led by US Senator Edward Markey, from entering the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame where De Lima has been detained for more than 5 years.

The American delegation was eventually allowed to visit the former senator with the approval of 2 Muntinlupa courts on Friday. 

She said it was clear in the PNP guidelines that a court order or permission is not required for the approval of the visit of foreign nationals of detainees.

"I felt that it was clearly a case of unfairly changing the rules in the middle of the game," she said. 

De Lima challenged the current administration to demonstrate that it is not the Duterte administration. 

"That this administration or somebody in this admin would unnecessarily risk a minor diplomatic fray just to continue Duterte’s policy of persecution is beyond me. It simply makes no sense. It has accomplished nothing but to embarrass the Marcos Jr. Administration," she added. 

At the end of her letter, the former lawmaker thanked US congressional delegation for the support. "I was very much uplifted and filled with a renewed strength and sense of purpose by their show of warm and gracious solidarity."

De Lima, a vocal critic of former President Rodrigo Duterte and his drug war, has been detained on illegal drug charges since February 2017. One of the charges has been junked while two others are still pending.

De Lima said the charges are politically motivated.

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