PNP blocks US lawmakers from visiting De Lima at Camp Crame

The PNP indicates that the visit of a person in police custody requires the authorization of the judicial authorities. Police also said there were 15 active cases of COVID-19 inside Camp Crame.

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday (August 18) prevented a delegation of US lawmakers from visiting former Senator Leila de Lima at her detention area at Camp Crame.

The head of the PNP’s public information office, Brigadier General Roderick Alba, told Rappler that the visit of US government officials was turned down by the PNP headquarters support department: “They came but the Access to visits was denied by PNP HQ Support.”

The US delegation included Senator Edward Markey and Representatives Alan Lowenthal, John Garamendi, Don Beyer and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen.

Among the reasons given by the PNP for arresting US lawmakers was their lack of court authorization and the prevailing COVID-19 situation inside Camp Crame. The PNP statement said there were 15 active COVID cases inside the police headquarters.

From Lima was held inside the PNP detention center since 2017 on alleged drug charges.

The PNP’s statement said their support service was “ready to brief the visiting delegation”.

“The PNP will provide the utmost courtesy and assistance to a U.S. Senate foreign delegation that will verify conditions at the PNP detention center at Camp Crame, in accordance with existing guidelines and procedures on visitor privileges at the detention center,” it said. said the police. .

The national police said that visitors’ interaction with a person in custody was subject to the authorization of judicial authorities.

“However, such accommodation excludes any direct interaction with any person placed in confined custody in the detention center, in particular the PUPCs entrusted by the Court to the custody of the PNP. Such interaction with any specific PUPC is subject to the express permission of the relevant legal authorities, with due regard to the prevailing COVID-19 situation at Camp Crame which currently has 15 active cases and one new case to date.

De Lima has yet to release a statement.

On Thursday evening, US Embassy spokesman Kanishka Gangopadhyay confirmed that Markey was leading a congressional delegation to Manila, but declined to elaborate on a possible visit to De Lima.

“The delegation met with Attorney General Remulla and President Marcos today, and is meeting with lawmakers from the Philippine Congress tonight. Delegation meetings will continue tomorrow,” Gangopadhyay said.

American support for De Lima

Markey was among the sponsors of a U.S. Senate resolution that condemned De Lima’s continued detention, denounced the Philippine government for its role in extrajudicial killings seen in the Duterte government’s war on drugs, and denounced media harassment of Philippines, in particular Maria Ressa of Rappler.

The resolution angered former President Rodrigo Duterte, who previously banned Markey from traveling to the Philippines.

PNP blocks US lawmakers from visiting De Lima at Camp Crame

Then-US President Donald Trump in 2019 approved the 2020 US budget with a provision to prohibit entry in the United States of those implicated in De Lima’s detention. One year later, US Senator Richard Durbin reiterated his call to release De Lima and said his case was an “important test” for the country’s democracy.

In May of this year, US senators renewed their calls for the release of De Lima. – With reports by Sofia Tomacruz/

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