De Lima hits PNP for supposedly barring her foreign visitors

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 21 2017 02:03 PM

MANILA - Detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Tuesday slammed the Philippine National Police (PNP) for supposedly disallowing foreign dignitaries to visit her in her cell in Camp Crame. 

"These are not terrorists or in any way threats to national security or public order. These are dignitaries of considerable stature in their respective countries," De Lima said in a statement.

"I demand respect for my rights, among them visitors’ access, as a detention prisoner who is constitutionally presumed innocent, as I am truly innocent, and as a sitting and working Senator of the Republic," she said.

The senator said there have been at least 3 times when heads of international human rights organizations tried to visit her in detention but were denied access by police.

Delegates of the Global Progressive Forum (GPF), including members of the European Parliament, were supposed to visit De Lima on Nov. 11. The president of Liberal International (LI) scheduled his visit in July, while the ASEAN Parliament for Human Rights (APHR) delegates requested to see the senator in September.

Members of the 3 delegations were "barred from visiting despite complying with the 10-day required notice rule," De Lima said.

During the LI president's supposed visit, the group's Human Rights Committee Chair Markus Löning was granted access to De Lima's detention cell.

"These cannot be mere instances of administrative lapses and/or incompetence on the part of PNP authorities. It’s already a deliberate policy of oppression and violation of my rights," she added.

De Lima said the PNP also failed to send a "formal response" to the groups' requests.

ABS-CBN News asked the PNP for comment, but officials have yet to respond as of posting time.

De Lima, one of President Rodrigo Duterte's most vocal critics, has been detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame since February 2017 due to drug-related charges. She has reiterated innocence, calling the allegations political persecution.