De Lima tells EU lawmakers she’s being treated well at PNP jail
Twelve European Union lawmakers visited Sen. Leila de Lima at the Philippine National Police detention center on Wednesday to make sure she was being treated well in the lockup.
The head of the group, Sweden’s representative to the European Parliament Soraya Viola Helena Post, told reporters after the one-hour visit that De Lima looked “very good and strong.”
The group included members of the European Parliament’s subcommittee on human rights: Adam Kosa of Hungary, Josef Weidenholzer of Austria, Rikke Karlsson of Denmark and Post.
They were accompanied to Camp Crame in Quezon City, where the PNP headquarters is located, by acting EU Ambassador to the Philippines Mattias Lentz.
A 13th EU lawmaker, an adviser and member of the political group staff to the European Parliament, was not able to join the visit to De Lima.
Post said De Lima assured her visitors that she was being treated well by the PNP.
“We discussed her situation and she did not complain (about) the police. She said they’re taking care of her,” Post said.
“She says that she would like to go to her family and she also would like to go to her work to vote in the Senate,” Post said.
Asked why they visited De Lima, Post replied: “The delegation’s purpose of the visit is to express our concerns as parliamentarians in Europe about the case of De Lima. Of course, because we had a resolution and also some other issues that is our concern on human rights.”
Post was referring to the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on March 16 urging the administration of President Duterte to end extrajudicial killings in its war on drugs and to give priority to the fight against drug trafficking networks and drug barons over tracking down small-scale consumers.
The EU lawmakers also called for the immediate release from detention of De Lima, citing concerns that the drug charges brought against her were “almost entirely fabricated.”
De Lima was arrested at the Senate on Feb. 24, a week after the Department of Justice filed three cases against her for violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act in the Regional Trial Court in Pasay City.
She was accused of receiving payoffs from convicted drug lords held in New Bilibid Prison.
De Lima has vehemently denied the charges, saying these have been “manufactured” by Mr. Duterte’s allies as retaliation for her 2009 investigation of summary executions of criminal suspects in Davao, when he was mayor of the city, and her launching an inquiry last year into thousands of extrajudicial killings in his crackdown on illegal drugs.
The EU lawmakers, in their resolution, urged the dropping of all “politically motivated charges” against De Lima, noting that Amnesty International “regards Senator De Lima as a prisoner of conscience.”
On March 24, Mr. Duterte responded angrily calling the EU lawmakers “crazies.”
“If I have the preference, I’ll hang all of you. You are putting us down,” Mr. Duterte said.
He also lashed out at the European Union for proposing a “health-based solution” to the drug problem that involved dispensing cocaine or heroin or crystal meth, which is locally known as “shabu.”
He called the supposed EU proposal a “government-sponsored idiotic exercise.”
“The sons of bitches, they want us to build clinics, then we should, instead of arresting or putting them in prison like in other countries, you go there and if you want shabu they will inject you or give you shabu,” he said in a speech to Chinese-Filipino businessmen.
“Then if you want cocaine, they will give you cocaine and if they want heroin, they will give you heroin,” he added. —With a report from Inquirer Research
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