Women’s rights group questions PNP’s ‘rough handling’ of De Lima
MANILA, Philippine — A group of women’s rights advocates on Monday expressed concern over the alleged “rough handling” of detained Senator Leila De Lima by security officers from the Philippine National Police (PNP) during court proceedings.
The group, composed of different executives from different organizations, met with officers of the PNP Headquarters Support Service (PNP-HSS), which deploys security personnel to detainees of the custodial center during a court appearance.
The group showed to the PNP HSS photos of De Lima on her way to a court proceeding where she was crowded by her police escorts.
“While we realize the need for tight close-in security for the senator, in light of her stature and the politicized accusations against her, we question the way the police crowded the senator to prevent her from waving to her friends and followers. Some photos show the senator almost strangled by her police officers,” the group said in a statement.
The group said the “harshness of the police’s treatment of the senator is in stark contrast to the apparent leniency and personal space accorded to other personalities” also detained at the PNP custodial center in Camp Crame.
Senior Supt. Vicente Calanoga, Chief of Directorial Staff of the PNP HSS, said the assignment of PNP personnel for the senator during her court proceedings is only part of the security measure being implemented by the police.
“Sa perspective po ng PNP HSS, ‘yun po… [ay part ng] security coverage sa kanya (From the perspective of the PNP HSS, it’s part of the security coverage for her)… considering the security situations during that time,” Calanoga told reporters.
He added that it is the standard operating procedure of the PNP to not allow media interviews during the transport of De Lima from the custodial center to the court.
“The more time na nasa labas po siya, mas exposed po siya sa danger. The only time na confident kami sa security ng ating mga under custody ay kapag nasa custodial center na po siya. Pero other than that, kapag nasa labas po siya ay ‘yung ating security po natin ay talagang bibigyan ng appropriate attention,” Calanoga said.
(She is more exposed to danger if she is outside. The only time that we are confident of in the security of those under our custody is when they are inside the custodial center. But other than that, if they are outside, the security is given appropriate attention.)
De Lima has been detained since 2017 or for almost two years now for drug trafficking charges in relation to the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison when she was still justice secretary. She said the charges were trumped-up by the administration. /ee
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