De Lima losing weight, looking pale—Rep. Erice
Senator Leila de Lima “lost weight and looked pale” according to one of the members of the House minority bloc dubbed as the “Magnificent 7” who visited the senator on Monday at her detention cell in Camp Crame.
The opposition bloc, composed mostly of Liberal Party (LP) and ally lawmakers, started arriving at the Philippine National Police’s Custodial Center around 9:50 a.m.
Minority leader Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, Capiz Rep. Emmanuel Billones, Akbayan Rep. Tomasito Villarin and Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza were among those who paid De Lima a visit.
Their meeting lasted for an hour.
In an ambush interview, Erice told reporters that they had a “light conversation” with the senator, who had been in detention over allegations of illegal drug ties since last February 24.
The LP stalwart clarified that the impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte was not the purpose of their visit to the senator.
“Nagusap kami sa minority na pasyalan si Senator Leila para kamustahin. Wala namang importanteng issue na napagusapan (The minority agreed to visit Senator Leila to see how is she doing. No other important issues discussed),” he said.
Asked to describe the condition of De Lima, he said: “Pumayat siya nang konti. Medyo maputla siya (She lost weight and looked a little bit pale).”
Alejano was behind the impeachment complaint against the President. The House justice committee rejected his two complaints for lack of substance.
Alejano said they had discussed with De Lima “current issues,” including the Duterte administration’s submissive to China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Duterte of war if he insisted on drilling for oil in the South China Sea, the President himself disclosed last week.
The Magdalo lawmaker then hit Duterte for going soft on China despite its threats against the Philippines.
“May consesus kami na hindi akma ‘yon. Una, maniniwala ba tayo sa sinabi ni Presidente. Pangalawa, kung sinabi ‘yan ni Presidente, bakit hindi tayo mag assert? ‘Yung iba nga na ni-remind lang tayo sa human rights issue nagwawala na siya, samantalang itong tini-threaten na tayo ng war bakit walang sinabi ang pangulo at wala tayong magawa? (We have a consensus. First, are we going to believe that the President really said that? Second, if he really said that, why can’t we assert. Others are reminding us of human rights issue and he already went ballistics, while they [China] threatening us of war. Why is he saying we are helpless)? ” he said.
Alejano also supported Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan’s proposal to raise a diplomatic protest against China.
De Lima also discussed with the lawmakers the government’s decision to stop receiving grant “that may interfere with the internal policies of the Philippines” from the European Union.
Meanwhile, in a handwritten dispatch from Camp Crame, De Lima said she was honored to be visited by the lawmakers.
“Sila ay nananatiling matatag sa kanilang prinsipyo na isulong ang kanilang mga adbokasiya, hindi para masunod ang gusto ng Pangulo, kundi para itaguyod ang kapakanan ng Pilipino. Sa kabila ng paniniil sa ating demokrasya, nariyan sila, naninindigan para sa bayan,” she wrote.
(They are staying true to their principle of advancing their advocacies, not just to follow the wishes of the President, but to also support the welfare of the Filipino. In the face of tyranny against our democracy, they’re still here, standing for the country.)
She described her visitors as “genuine and functioning minority in the House of Representatives.”
“In this time of darkness and flagrant violations of human rights that besiege our nation today, it is really an honor to be fighting with them for truth, justice and democracy,” the senator said.
De Lima said they had a pleasant meeting as they tackled the most important current issues in the country. With a report from Frances Mangosing/JPV/rga
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