DOJ opposes De Lima plea to shoot campaign materials from detention

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
DOJ opposes De Lima plea to shoot campaign materials from detention
In this photo taken February 17, 2021, Sen. Leila De Lima attends the trial of the third drug case she is facing at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 256.
Office of Sen. Leila De Lima / release

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Justice prosecutors have blocked Sen. Leila De Lima’s request that she may be allowed to shoot campaign materials for her re-election bid in her detention room.

According to documents released by De Lima's office, the Department of Justice has filed an opposition to, and asked the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 256 to dismiss, De Lima’s motion to be allowed to do photoshoots and video recording to be used as her campaign materials for the 2022 polls.

Prosecutors, in their eight-paged comment/opposition, pointed out that the senator is facing a drug case. “For this reason alone, accused De Lima cannot and must not be treated differently from any other accused. She may occupy an exalted position in society, but this does not entitle her to special treatment,” they told the court.

De Lima has asked the Muntinlupa RTC 256 to allow her campaign team to take her photos and videos insider her detention at the Philippine National Police custodial center for three days, within December 27 to 30.

“This request is absolutely necessary to give full meaning the electoral process, as these photographs and videos will be used for the candidacy of accused De Lima,” De Lima’s motion read.

DOJ: De Lima not like other candidates

But DOJ prosecutors stressed that the senator is facing a non-bailable offense and there is restraint on her liberty. Prosecutors pointed out that De Lima is not in the similar situation as with other candidates.

“Accused De Lima is charged and imprisoned for a capital offense. Life is hard and definitely not fair,” they added.

“The Supreme Court made it clear that all prisoners cannot be allowed to practice their profession, their civil and political rights are restricted and regulated. Thus, to allow accused De Lima to enjoy the privileges accorded to upright candidates would be the height of unfairness and partiality,” their motion read.

Since her detention in 2017, De Lima has not been allowed to participate in Senate plenary or hearings, but she has been able to file resolutions.

Prosecutors also claimed that De Lima failed to submit a similar motion before Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204, where she faces a separate conspiracy to commit drug charge. When De Lima sought Branch 256’s nod to take photos for her filing of Certificate of Candidacy, she also did not submit a similar motion to Branch 204.

De Lima’s team has yet to respond to the claim of prosecutors of “disregarding” Branch 204.

De Lima filed her COC through a representative on October 8. She is seeking re-election under Vice President Leni Robredo’s senatorial slate.

She has been detained for more than four years for drug-related charges that she claimed are politically motivated and trumped-up after she earned the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte, but the Palace has denied this repeatedly.


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