Bato on call for De Lima to work: What if all detained officials ask the same?
MANILA, Philippines — What if all detained government officials ask that they be allowed to continue their work even behind bars?
Neophyte Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa raised this question on Tuesday in view of growing calls for opposition Senator Leila de Lima to be allowed to participate in Senate proceedings through video conferencing.
De Lima has been in detention over drug-related charges for her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.
“What if lahat ng detained na mga incumbent government officials ay manghihingi mabibigyan ng the same privilege? Paano natin ma-accommodate?” Dela Rosa said in an interview at the Senate.
“Sabihin nila: What’s good for the gander must be good for the goose [referring to the idiomatic expression ‘what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’]. Dapat equal rights tayo. Dahil pinayagan nyo si Senator de Lima, bakit kami hindi pwe-pwede?”
“So that will open another problem. Pero hindi ko pa sinasabi na yes or no ako dyan. Nag e-entertain pa ako ng ganung klaseng pag-iisip,” he added.
Dela Rosa cited the case of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who he said did not enjoy the same privilege when she was detained while serving at the same time as representative of Pampanga.
Aside from a Senate resolution earlier filed by Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Panfilo Lacson, a group led by former President Benigno Aquino III also urged De Lima’s participation in Senate proceedings from her detention.
The resolution, however, has yet to be tackled by the Senate committee on rules being chaired by Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Zubiri said they would have to seek the opinion of the Philippine National Police, which has custody over de Lima, and the court handling her criminal case.
“So we must ask their opinion if they will allow such a special privilege. It’s a special privilege e. It’s not granted to other prisoner di ba…?” he further said. /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.