Lawmakers urge PNP to probe hostage-taking of De Lima
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers, both current and former, urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to investigate the hostage situation involving detained former Sen. Leila de Lima that transpired right inside Camp Crame.
This came after De Lima was taken hostage by one of three detainees who attempted to escape the PNP Custodial Facility in Camp Crame, Quezon City at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday.
READ: De Lima survives hostage-taking attempt; hostage-taker gunned down
Senator Risa Hontiveros, who visited De Lima after the incident, condemned the incident, tagging it as “unjust, barbaric, and despicable.”
“We demand an explanation and a thorough investigation of this violent incident from the PNP and the Department of Justice. We need answers,” said Hontiveros in a statement.
She then questioned why the detainees were able to easily access the cell of De Lima, castigating those who must be held accountable within PNP for letting this happen.
“What lapses in security must be addressed, and most of all, who is responsible for these lapses? We strongly deplore this breach of duty,” she said.
The senator then called on the PNP to increase security around De Lima and to ensure that no similar incident will happen again to her and other detainees.
Call for De Lima’s release
Hontiveros then called for the release of De Lima, who has been detained for more than five years for what the latter’s camp said was “trumped up charges.”
“The violence against former Senator De Lima is only the latest act of injustice against her. Hindi sana nangyari ito kung sa simula pa lang, hindi na kinulong si Senator Leila dahil lang sa mga walang basehan na kaso (This would not have happened if from the beginning, Senator Leila had not been imprisoned because of baseless charges). This is political persecution at its worst,” said Hontiveros.
“Now more than ever, we call for the immediate release of former Senator Leila from her unjust detention and the dropping of the trumped-up charges against her,” she added.
In a separate interview with reporters, Hontiveros also noted that several witnesses have already recanted their allegations against De Lima.
“The case against her is lost. Inuulit ko po, nalusaw na, basura na ang kaso laban kay Sen. Leila. Nananawagan ako sa bagong administrasyon na gawin ang tama sa moral, gawin ang tama sa legal at palayain na si Leila ngayon (I repeat that it has been resolved, the case against her is trash. I call on the new administration to do the right thing morally, do the right thing legally and release Leila now),” she said.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, meanwhile, had similar sentiments, urging the current administration to grant her freedom, instead of what President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. offered, which was a mere transfer to another detention facility.
READ: Bongbong Marcos to offer De Lima transfer to another detention facility
“In the aftermath of the hostage-taking of former Senator Leila de Lima, instead of giving her the option to be transferred to another jail as suggested by President Marcos, Jr., she must be granted freedom from a five-year odious and solitary confinement on fabricated drug charges,” said Lagman.
“If her police custodians cannot secure her from a hostage-taker, once liberated, the people themselves can be her guardians to protect her from harm,” he added.
He noted that the PNP just recently barred visitors from greeting De Lima personally on her birthday, but managed to allow an armed intruder to breach her cell and hold her hostage.
READ: No visitors allowed as De Lima celebrates her 63rd birthday
Senator Robinhood Padilla, on the other hand, called out the PNP over the “discrimination” shown by arresting officers who responded to the incident — who kept identifying the culprits as “Muslims.”
“Ako ay nananawagan sa Philippine National Police na magkaroon ng edukasyon sa paggamit ng salitang Muslim. Discrimination po ito kapag binibigkas ng pulis na ito ang salitang Muslim. Maging parehas po tayo ng trato sa bawat Pilipino,” he said in a statement through Facebook.
(I am calling on the Philippine National Police to be educated on the use of the word Muslim. This is discrimination when the police say the word Muslim. Let’s treat every Filipino equally.)
“Kapag may kidnapper o holdupper o pumatay ng tao hindi man niyo sinasabi na Kristiyano ito (If there is a kidnapper or robber who killed someone, police don’t refer to them as Christians),” he added.
He explained that criminals shouldn’t be identified based on their religion as this has nothing to do with their crimes.
“Ang batas ay hinubog sa anyo ng hustisya at pinapatupad ito ng alagad ng batas. Kung ang alagad ng batas ay humusga ng bansag sa isang religion para saan pa po ang babaeng nakapiring ang mga mata at may hawak na timbangan?”
(The law is based on justice. If a law enforcer makes judgments based on religion, then what for is our blindfolded Lady Justice?)
Former senator and presidential candidate Panfilo Lacson, for his part, reminded the public that the “swift and decisive response” of the PNP should be “taken into consideration before the usual critics start to put the PNP in a bad light.”
But he also called on the PNP to conduct an impartial investigation on the matter to prevent similar instances in the future. He also called on the public to pray for the police officer who was injured during the incident.
Senator and current majority leader Joel Villanueva also commended the PNP for their “swift action.” However, he still implored the police force to tighten the safety and security of detainees and personnel in detention facilities.
He also called for the immediate transfer of De Lima to a safer facility “to avoid further risks on her life,” and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured police officer during the incident.
DOJ blocks own witness who has cleared De Lima
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