De Lima gives up Senate justice panel seat for Hontiveros
This undated file photo shows Sen. Risa Hontiveros.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo
De Lima gives up Senate justice panel seat for Hontiveros
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - August 4, 2020 - 12:39pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima said Tuesday she had given up her membership at the upper chamber’s justice and human rights committee so that Sen. Risa Hontiveros could join deliberations on the revival of death penalty.

De Lima, who has been detained inside the headquarters of the Philippine National Police since February 2017 due to drug charges, said she cannot vote and fully participate in Senate sessions and hearings.

“I am relinquishing my membership in the committee on justice and human rights in favor of Sen. Risa Hontiveros,” De Lima said.

“As a courageous voice in the Senate who speaks truth to power and fights for justice and human rights, Sen. Risa’s participation and vote will definitely matter because she will always be on the side of justice,” she added.

In a plenary session Monday, no one objected to the motion of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon to elect Hontiveros to replace De Lima in the committee.

The move of De Lima to give up her post at the panel came after Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian gave up his committee membership in favor of Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, former chief of the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Correction who is advocating the reinstatement of capital punishment.

In his fifth State of the Address last week, President Rodrigo Duterte called on Congress—which is dominated by his allies—to revive death penalty by lethal injection for drug crimes.

Death penalty was abolished in the Philippines in 1987. It was reintroduced six years later and then outlawed again in 2006.

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