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Hayaan nang magtrabaho: Minority senators urge colleagues to back De Lima’s plea to vote on key bills

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The Senate minority bloc has urged their colleagues to pass a resolution expressing the sense of the upper chamber on Senator Leila de Lima’s request to vote on landmark pieces of legislation, subject to court approval.

Resolution No. 391 introduced Monday (May 29) by Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino was filed a minute after they submitted Resolution No. 390 urging Congress to hold a joint session to discuss the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

In filing the resolution, the minority lawmakers said De Lima has not yet been convicted of a crime and should thus be allowed to exercise her political and civil rights.

“De Lima is not asking for the privilege of attending all legislative sessions or hearings, but is simply requesting for a modicum of support from the Senate to enable her to properly perform her mandate as bestowed by the millions of Filipino voters who elected her as their sovereign representative in the Senate, by attending sessions in order to cast her vote on crucial landmark legislation,” they added.

The senator, currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame over drug-related charges, has sought out Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and requested an expression of support from the Senate on her desire to be occasionally granted furlough by the court on a “case-to-case basis.”

The minority senators echoed De Lima’s observation on instances in the past where former Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. who are all facing non-bailable charges were given considerations by the Sandiganbayan and granted temporary furlough.

Considering that the Supreme Court has recognized their reasons as sufficient compelling justification to grant the former senators’ request, then all the more reason exists to similarly grant De Lima’s request to attend matters of crucial landmark legislation, in the exercise of her constitutional mandate as a representative of the sovereign Filipino people, they said.

Pimentel, however, had already hinted the improbability of the upper chamber intervening in behalf of the detained senator as this will be viewed an interference in the mandate of a co-equal body, the court, in which De Lima is considered now under its custody.