Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

After hostage-taking, Marcos offers De Lima a jail transfer

Rambo Talabong
After hostage-taking, Marcos offers De Lima a jail transfer

SAFE. Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Benhur Abalos with Leila de Lima.

Facebook page of Benhur Abalos

(1st UPDATE) Leila de Lima opts not to take advantage of Marcos' offer, saying she still found the detention facility safe for herself

MANILA, Philippines – After surviving a hostage-taking at the Camp Crame Custodial Center, former senator Leila de Lima will be given the option to transfer to a different detention facility, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr announced on Sunday morning, October 9.

“Following this morning’s incident at Camp Crame, I will be speaking to Senator De Lima to check on her condition and to ask if she wishes to be transferred to another detention center,” the President said in a tweet.

Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos visited De Lima after Marcos’ tweet and relayed the President’s message.

During a press briefing on Sunday afternoon, Abalos reported De Lima opted not to take advantage of Marcos’ offer, saying she still found the detention facility safe for herself.

De Lima was taken hostage on Sunday morning as 3 inmates linked to Islamist terrorist groups attempted to escape the high-profile jail. A policeman was injured, while De Lima was not hurt.

De Lima has been detained inside the Camp Crame Custodial Center since February 2017, as she faced drug charges – one of three of which she has already been acquitted of in February 2021.

De Lima, as well as human rights and opposition groups, have declared the accusations as baseless as they came after she led the Senate investigation into former president Rodrigo Duterte’s popular but bloody anti-drug campaign.

Before she was detained in the police-run detention center, De Lima feared for her safety as she had put stables of suspects behind bars as she served as the Justice Secretary from 2010 to 2015, under the administration of late president Benigno Aquino III.

Why transferring her is not enough for many people

In a statement, Human Rights Watch said the hostage-taking “only underscores the compelling need to release her from police detention.”

“She should never have been there to begin with,” it added.

Former senator Kiko Pangilinan made the same call, saying: “We also reiterate our call that government take swift measures to fast-track the resolution of her cases. Former Sen. De Lima does not belong in prison, is being unjustly detained, and must be released.”

Pangilinan also called on the police to initiate “a full accounting of the incident” to see if negligence was committed in the high-security compound.

– Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.