Philippines: former senator Leila de Lima taken as hostageEvent
- Initial Date
- Oct 9, 2022
- Event Description
Former senator and chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, Leila de Lima, should be released immediately and unconditionally, said the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) following a recent hostage-taking incident.
On 9 October, three convicts allegedly linked to local terrorist groups stabbed a police officer and held de Lima hostage inside her cell at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center. De Lima, a former senator and human rights lawyer, is being unjustly detained on trumped-up charges.
Responding police officers shot the three convicts, while de Lima, who suffered a mild stroke last year, was hospitalised for three days.
‘De Lima should not even be in detention in the first place. We have received reports of her mistreatment while in detention including constantly being denied access to visitors, electronic devices, and adequate medical furlough under the previous regime,’ said FORUM-ASIA.
‘We strongly condemn the PNP breach of de Lima’s security protocol and failure to ensure her rights while in custody, despite threats to her life and health. The arbitrary detention and mistreatment of de Lima is evident in the Philippine government’s judicial harassment of human rights defenders and narrowing civic space in the country.’
De Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte’s gross human rights violations, was imprisoned in 2017 on politically-motivated charges following her senate investigation into the thousands of extrajudicial killings under Duterte’s war on drugs. Her case continues to move at a snail’s pace despite the lack of evidence supporting the allegations against her. In response to the recent hostage-taking incident, President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. offered to transfer de Lima to a different detention center but de Lima reported declined.
‘President Marcos Jr’s offer to transfer De Lima to another facility is a mere band-aid solution. De Lima’s ill-treatment and prolonged detention over baseless, trumped-up accusations are unacceptable and clearly violate international human rights standards. The recent hostage incident underscores the urgency of her release. The Philippine government should immediately release her and dismiss the fabricated allegations against her,’ said FORUM-ASIA.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Violence (physical)
- Rights Concerned
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Pro-democracy defender
- Extremist group
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 9 October 2022, former senator Leila de Lima, pro-democracy WHRD unjustly detained, was temporarily taken as hostage while in detention by members of local terrorist groups in Pasay, the Philippines.