De Lima to bring own food, water to Crame jail – lawyer

Camille Elemia
De Lima to bring own food, water to Crame jail – lawyer
Former president Benigno Aquino III also expresses concern over the security of his former justice chief, who is now detained in Camp Crame

MANILA, Philippines – Out of safety concerns, Senator Leila de Lima on Friday, February 24, requested authorities to allow her to bring her own food and water to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center, where she has been detained over drug charges.

Ferdie Maglalang, De Lima’s chief media and communications officer, said the senator made the request after being repeatedly warned against taking food items sourced from within the jail. 

While the senator was being booked in Camp Crame, her security aide brought De Lima a meal bought from a fast-food joint. Rappler learned that De Lima refused to eat the food given to her inside the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group office for fear that it might be contaminated.

Alex Padilla, De Lima’s legal counsel, said the request had been approved.

“Yes, she will be allowed to bring her own food and water subject to cursory inspections,” Padilla told Rappler in a text message.

When asked who approved the request, Padilla said: “Doon mismo (Right there and then), there was a briefing on the rules. I don’t remember the names but it was the head of the detention unit.”

Liberal Party (LP) president Senator Francis Pangilinan, for his part, said De Lima is unlike any other high-profile inmate, owing to her previous post as justice chief. As justice secretary under the previous Aquino administration, De Lima had been pivotal in filing charges against politicians and other influential people.

“Si Senator Leila hindi tulad ng high-profile accused dahil marami siyang pinakulong, maraming gustong maghiganti, kaya safety ang kanyang concern,” Pangilinan said. (READ: TIMELINE: De Lima – from drug probe to arrest)

(Senator Leila is not like other high-profile accused because she put a lot of people behind bars. Many want to get back at her, so safety is her concern.)

Pangilinan also said De Lima has turned over her Senate work to her staff, some of whom joined her all the way to Camp Crame. 

Maglalang said De Lima is requesting if she could bring her laptop so she could continue her work as a senator.

Maglalang said the office has yet to discuss its logistics, following the senator’s detention. If approved, there might be staff members and security with De Lima every day.

Maglalang also said the senator intends to bring in her rubber shoes and exercise equipment, if allowed. (READ: De Lima allowed to choose between cells of Enrile, Tiamzons – PNP)

Aquino’s worry

Former president Benigno Aquino III has expressed concern over the safety and security of his former justice secretary while in detention.

Pangilinan disclosed this to reporters after accompanying De Lima at the CIDG on Friday.

“Nagkausap kami kanina. Siyempre, concerned siya sa kaligtasan ni Senator Leila. ‘Di naman kami nagtagal magusap, concerned siya sa safety, security ni Senator Leila,” Pangilinan said.

(We talked earlier. Of course, he is concerned about the safety of Senator Leila. We did not talk that long. He is concerned about her safety and security.)

Pangilinan said Aquino, like the other LP members, is questioning the court’s decision to order De Lima’s arrest pending her motions to quash filed before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 204.

“Nag-aalala siya syempre. Ang sa kanya, kinukuwestiyon din niya bakit ganito ang naging resulta ng korte, nai-issue ‘yung warrant,” he said.

(He is of course worried. He also questions why the arrest warrant was issued.)

De Lima revealed she and Aquino talked Friday morning before her surrender.

Aquino’s camp said the former president asked about some legal points in the case filed against De Lima. He also asked her if there were lawyers accompanying her. –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email