JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday said the government will oppose any bid of the Senate minority bloc to allow detained Senator Leila de Lima to participate in the chamber's deliberation on critical bills, including the reimposition of the death penalty.
"She (De Lima) has the right to do what she thinks she is entitled to. Mag-file siya ng complaint or petition sa court bahala na 'yung court," Aguirre said.
Asked if the prosecution will oppose any move by De Lima's camp, he said: "Io-oppose yun."
"E dapat nakakulong siya e. Why should she be entitled sa ginagawa ng senator. Siyempre 'pag ikaw ay nakakulong your rights shoud be... otherwise kung ganun din e wag na lang ikulong 'yan," he added.
De Lima has been detained at the Philippine National Police custodial center for drug trafficking charges since her surrender on February 24. She is facing drug charges for her alleged participation in the narcotics trading in the National Bilibid Prison when she was justice secretary.
Last Monday, senators belonging to the minority bloc -- Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros and Antonio Trillanes IV -- visited the embattled senator at her detention cell to discuss legislative agendas in the next few weeks.
Drilon said they will ask the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court to allow de Lima attend Senate sessions during deliberations on critical bills including: death penalty bill, bill on lowering the age of criminal responsibility and on the postponement of barangay elections.
The bills are evidently being opposed by the entire minority bloc.
De Lima last Monday expressed her desire to join the Senate sessions on important bills even through remote or electronic means.
"I have work to do as a senator and I will continue to do so because I owe it to the more than 14 million Filipino people who voted me in office and represent them in the Senate. I hope I can participate in important debates in the Senate," De Lima said in a statement.
"I have authored and sponsored important measures I promised the Filipino electorate to shepherd in the Senate. I have an electoral mandate to fulfill and it is my right to attend and participate in the proceedings in the Senate," she added.
She also pointed out that the Senate in 2008 has also allowed Trillanes to participate in Senate deliberations through teleconferencing.
Trillanes was then detained at the PNP custodial center in 2003 for coup charges filed against him following the Oakwood mutiny.
He also asked the court's approval to allow him to attend Senate debates but his motion was likewise turned down.
He was given amnesty by then President Benigno Aquino and was released from detention in December 2010 after more than six years of imprisonment. (SunStar Philippines)