Muntinlupa court rejects De Lima’s request to participate in Comelec’s e-rally

Published February 25, 2022, 4:26 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

Reelectionist Sen. Leila de Lima expressed dismay after a Muntinlupa court rejected her request to participate in the Commission on Elections’ e-rally for candidates on Feb. 26.

In an order dated Feb. 25, the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204 denied De Lima’s very urgent motion to be allowed to participate in the e-rally.

Sen. Leila de Lima is seeking reelection in the May 9 polls (Photo from Facebook/Leila de Lima)

The court said since De Lima is currently detained, she cannot be accorded the same treatment given to other candidates.

De Lima said prohibiting her from taking part in the e-rally stripped her off of her right to communicate her platform to the public.

“I wasn’t asking for special treatment, hence, did not ask for permission to leave the premises of the PNP Custodial Center. Still, the court junked my motion to allow participation in Comelec’s e-rally through video conferencing. Given my situation, I just wanted to avail of this opportunity to freely communicate my platform to the Filipino electorate,” she said.

De Lima filed the very urgent motion last Feb. 22 to allow her to participate in the Comelec e-rally slated from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 26, the first of a series of e-rallies that she is supposed to participate in.

She based her request on “provisions of law protecting a bona fide candidate’s right, during the election period, to be free from any form of harassment and discrimination, and to the “equal opportunity for public service, including access to media time and space, and the equitable right to reply, for public information campaigns and fora among candidates.”

The senator added that the e-rallies “are in accordance with the mandate of the Comelec to ensure the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections through fair election practices under Republic Act No. 9006, including through the provision of Comelec Space and Time.”

“As a bona fide and serious candidate, I just want to avail of every reasonable and lawful means under prevailing election laws and Comelec rules and regulations to promote my re-election bid, as to compensate for my physical handicaps as a Person Deprived of Liberty (PDL). I therefore don’t understand the further curtailment of my rights,” said De Lima.

De Lima marked her fifth year in detention on Feb. 24. In 2017, the Department of Justice charged her with three cases for illegal drug trading, which were later changed to conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading.

She was acquitted in one case on Feb. 17, 2021 while the other two are pending before Muntinlupa courts.