MANILA - Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. on Monday said detained Sen. Leila de Lima must not be allowed to participate in Senate proceedings.
"The double standards and sense of entitlement of some people are frankly quite disheartening. When I was incarcerated due to politically motivated charges, which the Court has finally settled in my acquittal, a very vocal group were against my participation in Senate proceedings,” Revilla said, referring to De Lima and her supporters.
Revilla, who was incarcerated on plunder charges from 2014 to 2018, said the Senate leadership at the time of his detention, believed his absence “would have no impact on legislation.”
"Wala ‘yang pinagkaiba sa sitwasyon ko noon. Halatang halata naman ang special treatment ‘pag pinayagan ‘yan ngayon,” he said.
(That’s not different to my situation before. It would be special treatment if she is allowed to participate in Senate proceedings.)
"Equal protection and fair play dictates that Leila De Lima cannot be allowed to participate in Senate proceedings, even if only remotely.”
De Lima, detained on drug charges for more than two years now, has been appealing that she be allowed to participate in Senate proceedings via video conference.
Senators Panfilo Lacson and Franklin Drilon have filed a resolution that would allow De Lima’s participation in relevant Senate proceedings.
Revilla was detained in June 2014 and remained behind bars until his acquittal in his plunder case in December last year. His graft cases remain pending.
He succeeded in his bid to come back to the Senate, as he vowed to rehabilitate his image which he said was tarnished by his political foes.
On Monday, the eve of De Lima’s 60th birthday, 8 former senators, namely Rene Saguisag, Antonio Trillanes IV, Wigberto Tanada Sr., Sergio Osmena III, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Mar Roxas, Francisco “Kit” Tatad, and Benigno Aquino III, announced their support for the resolution seeking to allow De Lima to join Senate proceedings.
“While Senator De Lima is a mere detention prisoner enjoying the Constitutional presumption of innocence, as well as civil and political rights, the fact of her incarceration has prevented her from performing her duties to participate in the legislative process,” the former senators said in a statement.
“To allow Senator De Lima the full discharge of her role and duty as a parliamentarian is to pay respect to the mandate of more than 14 million Filipinos who voted for her into office.”
De Lima was detained in February 2017 due to various drug charges which she said were trumped up by the Duterte administration because of her vocal opposition to its policies, including the war on drugs.