“The least the government can do now is to take steps to ensure her safety, conduct a thorough investigation on the matter, and expedite the resolution of the remaining cases.”
Filipinos got a big scare yesterday when news came out that former senator Leila de Lima was held hostage inside her detention cell at camp Crame.
That three desperate criminals were able to take a high-profile inmate like De Lima inside a supposedly secure facility is beyond me.
No wonder the rumor mills are again churning like crazy because of the incident. Was it an attempt to silence De Lima or were her jailers too lackadaisical with their job?
Senator Risa Hontiveros, who visited De Lima after the incident, condemned the incident, (and rightly so) tagging it as “unjust, barbaric, and despicable.”
Whether it was a lapse in security or because of some sinister design, someone must be held to account.
That the former senator has been unjustly incarcerated, falsely charged with fabricated crimes, and now had to go through the harrowing experience of being the victim of a life-threatening, if avoidable, incident speaks a mouthful about what is wrong with our institutions.
How much mental and psychological torture can a person take?
For sure, the former lady senator is made of much sterner stuff—her record speaks for itself.
Surely, she had gone through the wringer that will break most—the false accusations, character assassination, every imaginable ordeal, and now this—being held hostage in a supposedly secure place like the main PNP headquarters at Camp Crame?
It is most fortunate that she came out alive in this new ordeal with barely a scratch.
Yet, more than any physical scars, the mental suffering and distress will be more telling in cases like this.
The least the government can do now is to take steps to ensure her safety, conduct a thorough investigation on the matter, and expedite the resolution of the remaining cases.
This responsibility now falls squarely on the lap of the new administration of President Marcos, Jr.
That De Lima remains in detention is a continuing indictment, not only against the perpetrators of these false accusations but demonstrates the unraveling of the brokenness of our justice system, which, despite everything, is proceeding at an excruciatingly glacial pace.
In her own words, “(it) is yet another reminder to the world that the justice system in our country is broken.”
She laments thus: “I was detained, and persecuted because I dared to speak for those who were oppressed against a populist tyrant” xxx “And by fabricating spurious charges against me to deplatform and silence me, the former wannabe dictator only proved my point and solidified his status as an oppressor, demonstrating his vindictiveness, x x x”.
I echo Senator De Lima’s statement about the incident: “I am grateful to all who expressed concern for my well-being in the aftermath of the surreal hostage-taking incident that happened this Sunday morning.
“I have already endured more than five years of unjust detention inside the PNP Custodial Center. It was therefore farthest from my mind that on top of this ordeal, I also had to survive the knife of a fellow detainee (reportedly an Islamic extremist) who took me hostage in a desperate attempt to make known their grievances to the public.
“After being told by the hostage-taker that since his two other companions were already dead, he’s certain he would also be killed and he might just as well also kill me, I consider what happened to me as a near-death experience.
“If not for the timely intervention of the PNP security force, I don’t think I would have come out alive since the hostage-taker was already determined to die and take me with him.
“I am now safe and sound except for the lingering pain on my chest where the hostage-taker constantly pressed the point of his knife while holding me hostage.
“Please also pray for the injured police officer who, like me, was the other but more unfortunate victim of this incident.
“While I have survived with only a knife mark and some considerable distress, he is still fighting for his life. Let us all pray for his quick recovery.
“While I am still trying to recover psychologically and emotionally from this harrowing experience, I am sure of one thing that I learned from it. Being so near death has only made me value life even more.
“Thank you for all your prayers. Most of all, I thank the Lord for being by my side during those terrible moments, and for saving my life today.”
Now, those are gracious words.
I hope the Marcos Jr government would be just as gracious and allow her release on bail.
That can be done simply by withdrawing the prosecution’s objections to the pending petitions. Better still, it could simply withdraw those charges which they know have no basis.
The safety of Senator Leila De Lima is now in the hands of President Bongbong Marcos.
Ninoy Aquino died in the custody of his father’s military. Does he really want another tragedy to be blamed on his government?