Minority senators to SC: Allow video conference for De Lima in ICC case
MANILA, Philippines – Minority senators asked the Supreme Court (SC) to allow detained Senator Leila de Lima to use video and audio conference to participate in the oral arguments on the country's withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The minority bloc – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, senators Francis Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes IV, De Lima, and Risa Hontiveros – filed a motion for reconsideration with the Supreme Court on Thursday, August 23. Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, who is out of the country, agreed with the motion.
This appeal was made in response to the SC decision on August 7 which denied De Lima's request to participate in the oral arguments set on August 28. (READ: Playing the cards right? Politics of ICC oral arguments)
"To demonstrate to the Honorable Court that Senator De Lima's motion to personally appear during oral arguments is not a ploy to escape detention, Senator De Lima is willing to argue while in detention through a live video and/or audio feed," the motion said.
"This will address the Honorable Court's apparent concerns regarding Senator De Lima's current detention. If needed, petitioners-senators can supply the necessary equipment and facilities for this to take place," it added.
De Lima's allies said that "the right to speak for one's self in one's own case is a fundamental right" protected by the 1987 Constitution.
"The exercise of a constitutional right is basic in our democracy, and it is not Senator De Lima's burden to show why there is a 'compelling reason' to exercise a right granted by the Constitution," the senators said.
"It would be the height or irony to prohibit Senator De Lima to argue on a constitutional issue of paramount national importance, given that the Honorable Court has allowed furloughs to persons charged with non-bailable offenses," they also said, referring to the furloughs granted to former president Gloria Arroyo and Zaldy Ampatuan.
De Lima filed a separate appeal on August 16, but on Friday, August 24, the High Court rejected it. – Rappler.com