De Lima denounces media ban in court hearings
MANILA, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila de Lima denounced the decision of Philippine National Police and court officials to ban media coverage of her court hearings.
De Lima said it is a "gross violation" of the constitutional right to a free press, right of the public to be informed, and the right of an accused to a public trial.
"The authorities are getting more and more unreasonable in restricting media access to my court proceedings and any of my public outings, for that matter," De Lima said in a statement on Thursday, October 11.
"As far as my legal team knows, the court has not issued any official order – verbal or written – restricting media from covering court proceedings at QC MTC, Branch 34. But how come media were barred during the last hearing? Under whose authority or orders was it?" she asked.
During the October 4 hearing at the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 34 on De Lima’s "Disobediance to Summons," members of the media were prohibited from covering without any official order or court justification.
De Lima also alleged that Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 206 Judge Lorna Navarro-Domingo gave a verbal order restricting the press from covering the senator's hearings.
The senator also slammed PNP's efforts to "drown" her public statements during her public outings by making noises.
"These unreasonable and baseless instructions are unconstitutional. They not only undermine the media's role as messengers of truth to the public, but also prevent the conduct of an open and public trial," De Lima said.
De Lima, President Rodrigo Duterte's fiercest critic, has been in jail since February 2017 for drug trafficking charges, which she claims were fabricated by Duterte and his allies for vengeance. (READ: One year of living and surviving in jail) – Rappler.com