MANILA -- Senator Bong Revilla Jr. on Tuesday slammed what he called as double standards and sense of entitlement surrounding the proposal to allow detained Senator Leila de Lima to participate in plenary sessions through video conferencing.
Revilla, who had been detained for four years over plunder charges, was reacting to the signed statement of eight former senators expressing their collective support to let de Lima fully discharge her duties as a lawmaker.
"The double standards and sense of entitlement of some people are frankly quite disheartening. When I was incarcerated due to politically motivated charges, which the Court has finally settled in my acquittal, a very vocal group was against my participation in Senate proceedings, Revilla said in a statement.
"It is funny that among that group were Leila de Lima herself and some of those signatories in the open letter released yesterday, he added.
The signatories were former senators Rene Saguisag, Wigberto "Ka Bobby" Tanada Sr., Sergio "Serge" Osmena III, Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV, Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV, Mar Roxas, Francisco "Kit" Tatad, and Benigno S. Aquino III.
Revilla recounted that during his time, it was the official position of the Senate leadership that the absence of three senators would have no impact on legislation.
"Wala yang pinagkaiba sa sitwasyon ko noon. Halatang-halata naman ang special treatment 'pag pinayagan 'yan ngayon (That's no different from my situation before. It would be obvious that there is special treatment if such case is allowed now), Revilla said.
"Equal protection and fair play dictate that Leila de Lima cannot be allowed to participate in Senate proceedings, even if only remotely, he added.
Revilla argued that allowing de Lima to participate in plenary sessions would give her favor over and above other detainees, and allowing her to vote in absence would be a travesty against the Senate as a whole as this has no basis in the rules.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Panfilo Lacson filed Senate Resolution No. 51 to let de Lima participate in plenary sessions through teleconferencing.
In their resolution, Drilon and Lacson said she should be allowed to fulfill her mandate by participating in plenary sessions via teleconferencing, video conferencing or other forms of remote or electronic communications.
De Lima, who currently chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, is in detention since 2017 over drug charges.
Source: Philippines News Agency