Press Release
August 27, 2019

Press Statement of Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto
"Let Leila participate in plenary session"

I support the Drilon-Lacson resolution allowing Sen. Leila de Lima to participate in our plenary sessions through video conferencing.

She may be imprisoned, but Senator Leila remains an incumbent, who, lest we forget, was elected by 14.1 million citizens of this country.

Her being behind bars, on charges she has not been convicted yet, should not be a bar in the performance of her duties, especially the aspect which, thanks to technology, can be rendered remotely.

By tradition, the Senate work on legislation is an all hands on deck affair, in which every member, regardless of political affiliation, is expected to contribute in pointing out the mistakes in a bill and pouring more merits on it.

If ordinary workers can now work from home, courtesy of the Telecommuting Law which President Duterte signed into law last December, then Senator de Lima can certainly do it from her prison cell.

We have also been crowdsourcing ideas, inviting stakeholders to speak before us in order to enrich the discussion on a measure, except one, whose name ironically appears on our rolls.

The fear that hearing the voice of an imprisoned woman in the plenary can make a dent on the impregnable popularity rating of the President, which has stayed in the stratosphere, is baseless.

If, for example, she states something false in plenary, I believe that it is not the DDS detachment in the Senate who will be the first to stand to correct and challenge her, but her friends, because in the democratic space that is the Senate, friendship is not a factor in upholding the truth.

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