Sotto asks PNP: Let De Lima attend Senate hearings
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - July 7, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III has formally asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to allow opposition Sen. Leila de Lima to hold committee hearings even while in detention at Camp Crame.

 In a letter to PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde, Sotto said there are at least seven pending bills in the Senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development, which de Lima chairs, that need immediate action in the chamber.

 “As the Senate President, I am giving Sen. De Lima full authority to discharge her duties as chair of the Committee, particularly to conduct and personally preside over its hearings,” Sotto told Albayalde.

 Among the pending bills are the proposed Public Solicitation Act; Declaring February 23 of every year as the National Rotary Day; Magna Carta of the Poor; Magna Carta of Day Care Workers; Emergency Volunteer Protection Act; Social Welfare and Development Agencies Act; and Rural Employment Assistance Program Act.

 The letter, dated July 2, came four days after Sotto visited De Lima at the PNP Custodial Center, where she has been detained on drug-related charges since Feb. 24, 2017.

 Sotto cited a precedent in the case of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who was also allowed to fulfill his duties despite being detained on coup charges in 2007 during the Arroyo administration.

PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr. said they are preparing a response to Sotto’s letter “in consultations with our PNP lawyers,” particularly on the request’s security implications and in deference to the courts trying her case. – With Emmanuel Tupas

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