Even while in detention, Senator Leila de Lima wants to actively participate in the deliberations on important measures and attend other official functions in the Senate even through remote or electronic means.
De Lima made the call a day before Congress resumes sessions on Tuesday after the Lenten recess.
“For more than two months since I was illegally jailed on sham charges, I have refused to allow political persecution and harassment I suffer under the hands of the present administration to prevent me from fulfilling my electoral mandate,” she said in a statement on Monday.
“I have work to do as a senator and I will continue to do so because I owe it to the more than 14 million Filipino people who voted me in office and represent them in the Senate. I hope I can participate in important debates in the Senate,” said the senator.
De Lima, who has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City over drug charges, said her legal team was studying legal options for her to be allowed to attend the Senate sessions.
She said she hoped to join her colleagues in deliberating on important measures, such as the proposed revival of the death penalty, lowering the criminal age responsibility, and the postponement of barangay elections, among others.
Even after her arrest and detention in February this year, the senator continued to file bills and resolutions. She also remains the chair of the Senate electoral reforms and people’s participation committee.
“I have authored and sponsored important measures I promised the Filipino electorate to shepherd in the Senate. I have an electoral mandate to fulfill and it is my right to attend and participate in the proceedings in the Senate,” De Lima said.
“Apart from my rights as a duly-elected senator, I have to invoke my rights as a political prisoner as provided and protected under Philippine laws and jurisprudence as well as the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights,” she said.
She is facing charges for criminal offenses.
The former Justice Secretary cited some cases when detained senators here and abroad were permitted to attend to their legislative duties, including participation in Senate proceedings, pending the resolution of the charges levelled against them.
In the 1950s, she said, former Sen. Justiniano Montano was charged with the non-bailable offense of multiple murders but was allowed to post bail to perform his senatorial duties.
De Lima also pointed out that in 2008, the Senate under the leadership of then Senate President Aquilino Pimentel allowed then detained Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to participate in Senate proceedings through teleconferencing. CBB/rga
By: Maila Ager - Reporter / @MAgerINQINQUIRER.net