‘Jail is never safe for political prisoners’: De Lima’s immediate release sought anew

Progressive groups renewed their calls for former senator Leila De Lima’s immediate release after a hostage-taking incident at the Camp Crame Custodial Center on Sunday, Oct. 9.

Detained former senator Leila De Lima following the hostage-taking incident at PNP Custodial Center on Sunday morning. (Photo courtesy of Office of Sen. Risa Hontiveros & DILG Sec. Benhur Abalos)

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis leader Rafael “Paeng” Mariano said the only “sensible” thing to do right now is to grant the release of the former senator, further reiterating that De Lima has already been proven to be a “victim of political persecution.”

De Lima was briefly held hostage during a shooting incident at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center on Sunday morning. In an interview over DZBB, PNP Chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said De Lima is unhurt and safe, adding that she was immediately brought to the PNP Health Service for a check up.

“Dapat imbestigahan ang nangyari sa custodial center at managot ang mga maysala at nagpabaya sa kanilang tungkulin ng pagtitiyak ng seguridad at kaligtasan ng mga inmates (What happened at the custodial center should be investigated. The perpetrators, as well as those who neglected their duty of ensuring the security and safety of the inmates should be held accountable)," Mariano said.

Meanwhile, Gabriela Vice Chairperson Joms Salvador, in a tweet on Sunday afternoon, said the only way to ensure De Lima’s safety is by immediately granting her release and “freedom.”

“Jail is never safe especially for political prisoners deprived of their liberty for speaking truth to power. Leila De Lima has suffered so much injustice already through all these years Duterte has had her detained for obviously trumped-up charges,” said Salvador.

Like KMP, Salvador is likewise pushing for an immediate investigation of the said shooting and hostage-taking incident. As of writing, with over 13,000 tweets, the hashtag #FreeLeilaNow is among the trending topics in the Philippines.

De Lima was arrested and detained at the PNP Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Feb. 24, 2017 over drug-related charges which her camp labelled as fabricated.