Muntinlupa court denies De Lima’s bid to join Senate virtual sessions

Aika Rey
Muntinlupa court denies De Lima’s bid to join Senate virtual sessions
'Please note that there is no civil interdiction imposed on me by any court, thus, there should be no unreasonable restrictions on my rights and legitimate interests,' says Senator Leila de Lima, who will file a motion for reconsideration

MANILA, Philippines – A Muntinlupa court has rejected the bid of detained Senator Leila de Lima to join Senate virtual sessions, the lawmaker said on Friday, June 19.

De Lima said in a statement that the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 denied her omnibus motion in a June 17 joint order, which she said would prevent her from fully performing her mandate as a senator.

“With all due respect to the Honorable Court, allowing my online participation in the Senate sessions will not negate the fact that I am still in prison. What the court permission can do however is to pay full respect to the mandate that I received from the Filipino people as a sitting senator,” De Lima said.

The senator, who filed the motion on June 1, said will file a motion for reconsideration.

De Lima pointed out that she was still in “full possession” of her civil and political rights as her cases were still ongoing, 

“Please note that there is no civil interdiction imposed on me by any court, thus, there should be no unreasonable restrictions on my rights and legitimate interests,” she said.

Since being detained in February 2017, the senator continued to file bills and resolutions. However, she could not attend or vote during sessions.

Hybrid hearings and sessions were allowed starting May 4 because of the pandemic, but the Senate leadership could not allow De Lima to attend virtual meetings as she is “not under the chamber’s jurisdiction.”

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Panfilo Lacson filed a resolution in 2019 seeking to allow De Lima to join plenary sessions from Camp Crame. This resolution was not acted upon as the Senate leadership deemed it as a court matter.

But lawmakers joining Senate sessions through teleconferencing is not new. When former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was detained, equipment was bought in so he could participate in plenary debates through electronic communications.  – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.