Detained Senator Leila de Lima won’t be able to attend the Senate inquiry on Thursday on the killing of student Kian Lloyd delos Santos in an anti-drug operation by police Caloocan City last week after she failed to get immediate relief from the Supreme Court for furlough to attend the legislative investigation.
Through her lawyer Teddy Esteban Rigoroso, De Lima filed a very urgent motion with the SC, but her pleading was not included in the agenda of the Court’s en banc session on Tuesday.
An SC insider revealed that De Lima’s motion would instead be deliberated in the next session on Tuesday next week.
This means the senator, who is detained at the Philippine National Police custodial center while facing drug trading cases, would not be able to join the first hearing of the Senate on Kian’s case and would have to wait for the next SC session to know if she would be allowed to attend the succeeding hearings.
In her motion, De Lima appealed to the SC to allow her to attend the Senate inquiry and exercise her duties as a senator to probe Kian’s case and the recent spate of killings under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
“It is clear from the foregoing that Petitioner’s presence and participation during the inquiry into the death of Kian Loyd delos Santos serves those causes, and is but consistent with Petitioner’s mandate and rights under the Constitution and to the right of the Filipino people to be represented in the Senate by the elected Senator,” De Lima stressed.
“In light of the foregoing, Petitioner hereby reiterates her plea before this Honorable Court for legislative furlough, not just in her own capacity as a duly elected member of the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines, but also on behalf of the millions of Filipinos she represents, pursuant to the mandate she received when more than 14 million Filipinos voted for her in the 2016 national elections,” De Lima pleaded.
In seeking such relief, De Lima cited previous cases wherein the SC has granted furlough of an accused with justification for the temporary leave of detention including the celebration of the birthday of the accused, celebration of Christmas and New Year, attend a relative’s wake or funeral, allow dental surgery, to visit a sick relative or to attend the graduation rites of a relative.
The lady legislator also assured the high court that she is not a flight risk and has respected the legal processes when she was charged with drug trafficking by the government and has even surrendered to the authorities when the court issued a warrant for her arrest early this year.
Despite the charges, she is still presumed innocent under the Constitution, she said.
Earlier, members of the Senate majority bloc signed a resolution condemning the killing of Kian and other drug-related deaths and also directs the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry on the matter.