Detained De Lima in Senate sessions? No to special treatment, says Revilla
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. on Tuesday vehemently opposed a petition to allow detained Senator Leila de Lima to attend Senate sessions, even through teleconferencing, which he said smacks of special treatment.
“The double standards and sense of entitlement of some people are frankly quite disheartening,” Revilla said in a statement on Tuesday.
“When I was incarcerated due to politically motivated charges, which the Court has finally settled in my acquittal, a very vocal group were against my participation in Senate proceedings,” he said.
“It is funny that among that group were Leila De Lima herself and some of those signatories in the open letter released yesterday,” Revilla went on.
He was apparently referring to a “collective statement” earlier released to the media, urging that De Lima, who is facing drug-related charges, be allowed to fully discharge her duty as a senator.
The statement was signed by former president Benigno Aquino III, former senators Rene Saguisag, Wigberto Tañada Sr., Bam Aquino, Sonny Trillanes, Mar Roxas, Serge Osmeña and Francisco Tatad.
Revilla pointed out that when he and former senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada were in detention, the Senate leadership then said that their absence would not affect the work in the upper chamber.
Unlike Revilla, Enrile and Estrada are just out on bail.
Revilla was charged and detained in 2014 over the so-called “pork barrel” scam.
The Sandiganbayan acquitted him of plunder in December 2018 and later ordered his release.
“Wala yang pinagkaiba sa sitwasyon ko noon. Halatang halata naman ang special treatment ‘pag pinayagan ‘yan ngayon,” Revilla said.
“Equal protection and fair play dictate that Leila De Lima cannot be allowed to participate in Senate proceedings, even if only remotely.”
To do so, Revilla said, would amount to giving De Lima “favor over and above other detainees.”
“And second, to allow her to vote in absentia would be a travesty against the Senate as a whole as this has no basis in the Rules. And even if the Rules are amended, it will lead to absurd results,” Revilla added. /gsg
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