Senator Leila de Lima on Friday, February 26 welcomed the initiative of several embassies in the Philippines to send representatives to monitor the legal proceedings on the drug cases that have been filed against her.
This, after the courts handling her cases allowed the embassies of The Netherlands, USA, Germany, European Union (EU) and UK to attend her hearings through videoconferencing.
“I appreciate their keen interest to closely monitor the court proceedings to ensure that I receive a fair trial,” De Lima said in a statement.
“This is another proof that the world is indeed watching and that the international community cares for rule of law in our country,” the detained senator stressed.
So far, the embassies of The Netherlands, US, Germany and EU have already managed to attend select hearings of De Lima’s cases before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branches 205 and 256, through videoconferencing.
An Australian lawyer, Mark Trowell—a trial observer for the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) attended the resumption of the trial of the detained senator’s case before the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205 last Jan. 24, 2020.
Trowell was also present before the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205 last Nov. 8, 2019 when the court deferred the hearing on the alleged conspiracy to trade illegal drug charge against De Lima. The Supreme Court released OCA Circular No. 166-2020 last Oct. 9, 2020 stating that all videoconferencing hearing conducted by first and second level courts may be accessible to the public since they are already allowed to conduct videoconferencing hearings in all matters pending before them.