The lawyer of detained Sen. Leila de Lima, former senatorial candidate Chel Diokno, stands outside the Camp Crame Custodial Center on Friday. De Lima has not been seen by anyone from outside of the detention center since April 25, 2020. (Handout photo)


The lawyer of detained Sen. Leila de Lima, human rights advocate Chel Diokno, was prevented by the Philippine National Police (PNP) from seeing his client on Friday morning at Camp Crame Custodial Center in Quezon City.

Diokno, along with Fr. Flavie Villanueva and de Lima’s chief of staff Fhillip Sawali, waited for about an hour but were not allowed in, which they said was prohibited by law.

“Tayo ay nasa Camp Crame ngayon para kay Senator Leila de Lima. Pero nung kami’y pumasok sa Custodial Center, ay hindi kami pinayagang bumisita. Sabi daw ay hintayin daw namin yung request sa itaas,” said Diokno.

De Lima has not been seen by anyone from outside of the Custodial Center since April 25, 2020, her staff said.

Diokno and Sawali said depriving de Lima of access to her lawyers, doctors, priests, and counselors, all considered essential visitors, is a violation of her rights.

“Ang nasa Republic Act 748, may right to visit ang lawyer, ang priest, at ang pamilya ng mga detained,” Diokno said.

“Bawal po ito sa ating full Constitution. Tinatawag po itong incommunicado detention. May mga batas din po tayo at mga international standards and laws, kagaya ng Mandela Rules, na karapatan po ng sinomang nakakulong ang reasonable contact to the outside world,” Sawali said.

Diokno and Sawali urged the PNP to remove unreasonable restrictions imposed upon de Lima and respect her rights as a Filipino citizen and senator.

“Dapat ay igalang nila ang karapatang pantao ng lahat, at si Senator Leila naman ay presumed innocent [dahil naka-pending pa lang naman ang kaso niya. She should be treated as such],” Diokno said.

In a May 23 letter to PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and opposition senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan tagged the action of the PNP as “unconstitutional, illegal, and violates the cardinal precept of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that solitary confinement and incommunicado detention are universally outlawed.”

De Lima, the staunchest critic of the administration’s war on drugs, has been detained since Feb. 24, 2017 over drug charges that she maintains were fabricated by the government to malign and silence her. (