MANILA–Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Sunday said it is now up to the court to decide on detained Sen. Leila de Lima’s bid to participate in Senate sessions.
However, Aguirre said they will oppose any move by De Lima’s camp to have her attend Senate deliberations, including the hearing on the administration’s plan to revive the imposition of the death penalty.
Aguirre said it is within De Lima’s right to ask the Muntinlupa court to allow her to leave detention to participate in Senate deliberations but the DOJ will oppose any such move.
“She can file it in court and it will be up to the court to decide but we will definitely oppose it,” the DOJ chief noted.
Aguirre, whose office initiated filing of criminal cases against de Lima in connection with her alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, said De Lima as a lawyer should know that as a detainee some of her rights and privileges are curtailed.
“Once incarcerated, some of your rights and privileges are suspended. She’s in jail so why should she be entitled to what other senators are doing? If you’re jailed, your rights should be lesser,” Aguirre said adding that this also happened to De Lima’s colleagues when they were incarcerated such as then senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon “Bong” Revilla.
Another senator, Antonio Trillanes IV, was also not able to personally attend Senate hearings during the time he was incarcerated at the PNP Custodial Center from 2007 until his release from detention in 2010.