PNP denies some personalities from visiting De Lima on birthday, says ex-senator's camp

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 27 2022 12:11 PM | Updated as of Aug 27 2022 04:36 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
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

MANILA (UPDATED) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) denied some personalities from visiting detained former Senator Leila de Lima during her birthday at Camp Crame on Saturday, August 27, her camp said. 

Among those not allowed to visit the former lawmaker were former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, former SC Associate Justice and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, Senator Risa Hontiveros and Rep. Edcel Lagman.

Also barred were former Senator Franklin Drilon, constitutional framer Atty. Christian Monsod, Prof. Winnie Monsod, Former Rep. Tom Villarin, former secretaries Mar Roxas and Julia Abad, lawyer Chel Diokno.

The denial of the visit was first announced by her brother, Vicboy De Lima, during a Zoom event Saturday morning celebrating the former lawmaker's 63rd birthday.

It was later confirmed in the same event by De Lima's former chief of staff Fhillip Sawali, through program host Dr. Socorro Reyes.

De Lima’s brother, Dr. Vicente De Lima, was initially announced as part of the list who were barred from visiting De Lima but his brother Vicboy clarified he was allowed to see the former lawmaker.

No explanation was given for the denial of the visit. 

ABS-CBN News is still trying to get the side of the Philippine National Police.

The denial of the visit comes a week after a US congressional delegation was initially barred from visiting De Lima and had to secure court approval before they could visit her.

De Lima had expressed frustration over the initial denial of the visit, saying PNP’s own guidelines did not require foreign visitors to secure court approval.

She said that the US Embassy made a request through a note verbale sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs, which it endorsed to the PNP, days before the scheduled visit.

De Lima also wrote a letter to the PNP.

“I was deeply frustrated and felt unjustly treated when the PNP announced on the very day of the scheduled visit that it cannot push through without a court order,” she had said in a statement.

“I felt that it was clearly a case of unfairly changing the rules in the middle of the game,” she added.


On Twitter, Monsod said the request to visit De Lima had been made weeks ago and "was just now verbally disapproved."

"It is OUTRAGEOUS! ... Too much! She’s not convicted, not allowed a phone, and now this!" she said.

Villarin, on Zoom chat, said the PNP's decision to deny access to friends to visit De Lima on her birthday was "highly whimsical and capricious."

"Without reason, the move by the PNP speaks about how the law is really being used to trample on the rights of former Sen de Lima," he said.

In a statement, Lagman lamented De Lima's continued incarceration, saying that "every long day that passes with Sen. Leila still baselessly imprisoned tarnishes the human rights record of the Philippines."

"We hope that this would be the last time Sen. De Lima will have her birthday in prison because every birthday in odious captivity is grossly tragic and an utter disaster for Philippine democracy and the rule of law."

De Lima, 63, celebrated her 6th birthday behind bars on Saturday.

She is facing 2 drug charges, which she calls political persecution.


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