Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno was barred by the Philippine National Police (PNP) from seeing his client, Senator Leila De Lima, at Camp Crame Friday (June 5).
Diokno, along with priest Father Flavie Villanueva, and De Lima’s chief-of-staff Atty. Fhillip Sawali, presented their IDs and waited outside the Custodial Center for about an hour in the hope that they would be allowed entry to visit the detained Senator.
However, the PNP turned them away, citing procedural matters.
“Tayo ay nasa Camp Crame ngayon para kay Senator Leila de Lima. Pero nung kami’y pumasok sa Custodial Center, ay hindi kami pinayagang bumisita. Sabi daw ay hintayin daw namin yung request sa itaas,” Diokno said.
De Lima’s camp claimed she has been prevented from having any visitors since April 25, 2020.
In a May 23 letter to PNP chief General Archie Gamboa, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and opposition senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan has tagged the action of the PNP as “unconstitutional, illegal, and violates the cardinal precept of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Politial Rights that solitary confinement and incommunicado detention are universally outlawed.”
Diokno and Sawali maintained that preventing De Lima to have access to her lawyers, doctors, priests, and counsellors, which are all considered essential visitors, is a violation of her rights.
“Bawal po ito sa ating full Constitution. Tinatawag po itong incommunicado detention. May mga batas din po tayo at mga international standards and laws, kagaya ng Mandela Rules, na karapatan po ng sinomang nakakulong ang reasonable contact to the outside world,” Sawali said.