Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has denounced the reported ban for families of political prisoners from visiting their loved ones in their detention quarters in Camp Bagong Diwa, especially during this Yuletide season.
With the unjustified visitation ban, De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said the Duterte administration has reached another low.
“I condemn this blatant violation of the rights of these Persons Deprived of Liberty [PDLs]. The timing of this latest harassment couldn’t be any worse, considering the Christmas season,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 684.
“Why are the jailers acting like Scrooges? Pati ba naman ang sariling pamilya, ipagkakait pa sa mga bilanggong pulitikal ngayong kapaskuhan? Ano na naman ang palusot na ibibigay nila sa lantarang panggigipit na ito?” she asked.
“Kapatid,” a human rights group working towards attaining freedom for political prisoners and gathering support for them, recently condemned the plight of families and friends of political prisoners denied of their rights to visit their loved ones in detention.
De Lima cited a particular case of Fides Lim, the wife of political prisoner Vic Ladlad who is detained at MMDJ-4, Bicutan, who claimed to have been banned by authorities to visit her husband ahead of Christmas day, last Dec. 22.
“I protest why I am not being allowed right now to visit my husband to bring him food and medicines. I have been here for hours now at Gate 1. The guards at the gate led by a Major Pascua said he is just following orders not to allow me in,” part of Lim’s Facebook post read.
While Mr. Duterte has declared a ceasefire with the rebels, the lady Senator from Bicol lamented how he continues to order the security forces to silence his critics and deprive them of the remaining rights they have once detained.
“Ginoong Pangulo, dyan ka nagkakamali. Ang panggigipit mo ang higit na magbibigay-tapang sa mamamayan upang labanan ang mga mala-diktador mong asta,” she said.
“These political detainees may be harassed for eternity, but they will never stop fighting for their principles and their cause. You can never silence the idea of resistance that is fueled by the tyranny and corruption of your own regime,” she added.
This 18th Congress, De Lima filed bills on sweeping prison system reforms, logged as Senate Bills No. 180 and 181. These two measures both aim to help initiate comprehensive reforms in the country’s prison and correctional systems. She also filed Senate Bill No. 179 or the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act.