DEPARTMENT of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson Mico Clavano on Monday defended the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) denial of former Senator Leila de Lima’s visitors to visit her on her birthday.
According to Clavano, the PNP was just merely following protocols.
Clavano pointed out that just like in the case of visiting American lawmakers led by Sen. Edward Markey, any person who intends to visit de Lima needs to secure permission from the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) to handle her illegal drug cases.
“Since the matter is with the courts, there must be a court order to visit. Similar to US Senator Markey – they were denied at first but were granted visitation rights the day after they filed the motion,” he said in a message.
“The courts are efficient (while the) PNP is merely following protocols,” he continued.
The PNP recently denied several visitors access to de Lima at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame.
Only her brother Vicente was allowed by the PNP to visit her.
Before her birthday, the Muntinlupa City RTC allowed lawmakers from the United States to visit de Lima in Camp Crame.
This was after Branches 204 and 256, separately handling de Lima’s illegal drugs charges, granted her extremely urgent motion to allow the US lawmakers to visit her, subject to the visitation guidelines of the PNP.
The US lawmakers who visited de Lima were Markey and Reps. Alan Lowenthal, John Garamendi, Don Beyer, and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen.
De Lima is currently detained at the Custodial Center of the PNP in Camp Crame on charges linking her to the illegal drugs trade.
Specifically, the former legislator was charged with conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade before the Muntinlupa RTC. Around 40 prosecution witnesses have testified against her, including former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Rafael Ragos.
She was accused of benefitting from the illegal drugs trade when she was the justice secretary during the Aquino administration.