Malacañang on Tuesday, April 5, maintained that detained Senator Leila De Lima was not denied the right to due process.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar issued the statement after some of the presidential bets for the May 2022 elections said that due process must be observed in the cases of De Lima.
"While we respect the opinions of the presidentiables who gave their stance on Senator De Lima's detention, we have to underscore that the senator has been accorded due process in all stages of her criminal prosecution," Andanar said.
"The rule of law, as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said in numerous occasions, must always prevail," he added.
During the second Commission on Elections (Comelec) presidential debate on Sunday, April 3, some of the candidates were asked whether the detained lawmaker should be released.
Labor leader Leody De Guzman said De Lima should be freed, while Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Senator Manny Pacquiao believe that due process must be observed in her case.
Meanwhile, for her part, De Lima said the debate topic about her case highlighted how Duterte created a "culture of fear" as some presidentiables were "obviously reluctant" to speak up on the said issue.
De Lima has been detained for the past five years under the Duterte administration over what her camp calls trumped-up drug charges. She has consistently asserted her innocence in the cases filed against her and was acquitted in one of three cases due to lack of evidence.