Supporters renew call for De Lima's release, cite health reasons

Published April 29, 2021, 3:51 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima’s supporters have renewed their call for her immediate release from detention at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center after the lawmaker was rushed to the hospital last week.

Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan noted De Lima’s continued unjust detention has compromised her health. She was brought to the Manila Doctors’ Hospital last April 23 after showing some signs of illness.

De Lima had earlier requested for an emergency medical furlough due to bouts of headaches and persistent generalized weakness.

Doctors later said De Lima suffered from vertigo due to the hot environment and poor ventilation inside her detention cell at the PNP headquarters.

“Nag-aalala kami sa kalagayan ni Sen. Leila (we are worried for Sen. Leila). Over 1,500 days of unjust detention will take its toll on anyone – and now it’s affected Sen. Leila’s health,” Pangilinan said on Twitter.

“This is a severe injustice and a violation of basic human rights,” he further said on his social media post.

“We add prayers for her health to our calls for her freedom. Parahay ka tabi, Sen. Leila!” Pangilinan added.

Nevertheless, he said he is confident that De Lima, a vocal critic of the Duterte administration, will get through the challenges she is experiencing right now because she is a “strong woman.”

“We know Sen. Leila is a strong woman – an oragon through and through, and we believe she can recover so long as she’s given the urgent medical attention not easily accessible for persons deprived of liberty,” he said.

Other personalities who took to Twitter to press for De Lima’s release included broadcast journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon, columnist Gideon Lasco and singer Leah Navarro.

Lasco tweeted “Free Leila de Lima now!” while Drilon said the former justice secretary “should be set free permanently. Period.”

Navarro, on the other hand, posted: “#FreeLeilaNow Sen. Leila de Lima should be released from her illegal detention this minute.”

“If she’s not feeling well, send her home! This cruelty shouldn’t be visited on the innocent,” Navarro stressed.

“Having visited Sen. Leila in Crame, it’s true that her (illegal) detention quarters are terribly uncomfortable. She doesn’t deserve this inhumane treatment! She needs freeing!” she added.

De Lima has been acquitted in one of her three trumped-up drug cases lodged before Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC), Br. 205 but is still facing drug charges in two other branches. [Hannah L. Torregoza]