'Walang dignity': PNP urged to loosen 'excessive' security for De Lima
MANILA, Philippines – Supporters of Senator Leila de Lima told police officials on Monday, February 11, that the police have been guarding Senator Leila de Lima too strictly that the treatment is already considered damaging to her dignity.
Sharing photos of De Lima struggling in the middle of swirling police escorts, Sister Mary John Mananzan said it was the first time she saw someone treated with so much restriction. (READ: After almost 2 years in jail, De Lima finally sees mother)
"In all the years of my life, I've never seen anyone, whether a criminal or a most famous person, I've never seen a group of security acting that way," Mananzan said after meeting with officials of the Philippine National Police Headquarters Support Service (HSS), which secures the senator in and out of the police camp.
"Sabi namin, 'P'wede ba [na bigyan ng] little bit of dignity and a little space for the senator para meron namang kaunting dignity?' Kasi ang nakikita nating picture walang kadignity-dignity," Mananzan added.
(We said, 'Could there be a bit of dignity, a little space for the senator to have a bit of dignity?' What we are seeing is a picture of her without any dignity.)
The photos showed De Lima being transported to and from her court hearings and detention facility in Camp Crame.
One photo showed her head being pulled from behind as she entered the police van, another showed her squeezing through cops to wave, while a pair of photos showed her struggling to turn to a camera, only to have her face covered by her security's hands.
Mananzan was accompanied by former presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita Quintos-Deles, and lawyer Minerva Ambrocio of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
LOOK: Former Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, activist nun Sr Mary John Mananzan, and— Rambo Talabong (@rambotalabong) February 11, 2019
lawyer Minerva Ambrocio ask PNP for "more humane" treatment of detained Senator Leila de Lima. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/EgpmKPgiH4
According to the group, the scenes documented in the photos do not show how an accused or even a convict should be treated. De Lima has been detained in Camp Crame since 2017, for drug charges.
The Commission on Human Rights echoed the group's concern in a statement on Monday: "The Senator has consistently been heavily guarded and covered by police escorts with their extended hands in attempt to hide her from the public and media. In other instances, police officers drown the senator's voice with a chorus of cough."
In an interview with reporters also at their headquarters on Monday, HSS chief-of-staff Senior Superintendent Vincent Calanoga said they have only been doing what they see fit considering De Lima's "security situations."
"It appears that what our security personnel are doing is excessive, and the perspective of the HSS is that that is the proper security coverage for her considering the security situations at that time. We don't have any other intent but to secure the senator," Calanoga explained in a mix of English and Filipino.
For now, Calanoga said they will study how they can better secure De Lima while giving her more space to speak to her supporters and the media. – Rappler.com