Senator Leila de Lima was said to have made a scene and felt scared due to concerns that she might get the death penalty so she begged Senate President Koko Pimentel. At least, this was what the headline was claiming.
Some Facebook pages have been sharing an article with the title, “De Lima nagwawala at natatakot mapatawan ng bitay nakiusap kay Sen Koko Pimentel.” These pages include “Sara Duterte Worldwide Supporters,” “President Duterte Astig Supporters,” “Pres. Rody Duterte ‘Partner for Change,’” “Ako Ang Media Ni Duterte,” “Duterte Saviours of Filipinos Today,” “Duterte Para sa Masa,” and more.
But when you open these articles, you will only find an over 13-minute long YouTube video that was first posted online on May 22, 2017.
The video was of Erwin Tulfo commenting on how de Lima wrote to Pimentel to request that she be allowed to attend Senate hearings, especially during the deliberation about the death penalty bill. He added that the lady senator might have been worried about possibly being the first one to get a death penalty once convicted from her drug charges. Tulfo said that de Lima might have wanted to be present during the death penalty bill deliberations so she could vote against it. He even said that if the capital punishment is restored, de Lima will be affected.
Tulfo also talked to Pimentel over the phone to ask him about the letter. The Senate President explained de Lima’s arguments in her letter to support her request to get out of prison and participate in voting for crucial bills – that some of her colleagues were granted furlough to attend birthdays or get out for personal reasons. Pimentel said that de Lima has a point, especially since despite being incarcerated, she is still a senator.
Asked what he thought about de Lima’s request, Pimentel said they needed more details, such as the dates of the furlough, what bills they would be voting on. When Tulfo prompted him that de Lima specified the death penalty bill, Pimentel said that the bill was not yet included in the Senate agenda.
In contrast to what Tulfo said earlier about de Lima probably getting the capital punishment if it gets restored and if she gets convicted, Pimentel said that she won’t get the death penalty.
“Hindi na. Ang ibig mong sabihin baka apektado siya doon sa death penalty kaya gusto niyang bumoto? Okay. Ang principle kasi sa batas natin, prospective. Ibig sabihin, kunyari, for example lang ha? Kunyari ang death penalty maging batas ng August 1, kunyari ha? August 1, 2017. Ang ibig sabihin noon, lahat ng krimen lang na punishable by death penalty na naganap after August 1. Iyon lang po ang puwedeng sentensyahan ng death penalty,” Pimentel explained.
Pimentel further said that de Lima was incarcerated in February 2017.
In May 2017, there were reports carrying details of de Lima’s letter to Pimentel.
“The minimum that I request is for an expression of support for my desire to occasionally be granted furlough by the court in charge of my detention, for purposes of voting on crucial landmark legislations, on a case-to-case basis,” she wrote in a letter to Pimentel dated May 11.
“This is not too much to ask, considering that I have not yet been stripped of my office, and no penalty has yet been imposed on me. At present, I am a mere detention prisoner in full possession of political and civil rights the exercise of which are limited only by the deprivation of my physical liberty, but not by the deprivation of rights which by law have not yet been denied me,” she added.
She then reasoned that other senators have been granted furloughs for personal reasons.
“If courts in the past granted furloughs to detailed Senators to attend birthdays—with one Senator having been given his liberty by the Supreme Court no less for a non-bailable crime—I do not think it is too much for the Senate to ask the court in charge of my detention to grand such a consideration, especially since it is not merely to go to a birthday party or for any personal reasons, but to attend to matters of legislation and sovereign representation. The Senate and your good office will not exactly be going out on a limb in supporting such a request,” she said.
“The fact remains that I am still a Senator of the Republic. It is only a question of whether you still consider me as one, to at least extend to me all the formalities of concern appropriate for a colleague who has found herself in unfortunate and most unjust circumstances,” she added.
“I earnestly pray that Your Honor, together with our colleagues, sincerely considers this request as my former friend, election client, and above all, as a fellow Senator elected by our people.”
But Pimentel chastised de Lima for making her letter to him public, accusing her of making the move for propaganda purposes.
“I did not know she wrote me a letter for propaganda purposes,” he said.
“I do not know now if she is serious with her letter’s substantive points of if they have been raised for propaganda purposes,” he added.
Pimentel said that he was still thinking about what to do with his colleague’s now public letter.
We finished watching the 13-minute video, but nowhere did Tulfo or Pimentel mention anything about de Lima making a scene as she “begged” Pimentel to help her get the Supreme Court’s approval for furlough to participate in the matters of legislation and in turn, fulfill her duties as a senator. The headline is clearly misleading and meant to rile her critics and bashers up.
Many of those who commented on the posts containing the misleading story have demanded for de Lima to receive the death penalty.
However, her critics’ and haters’ efforts won’t obviously pay off, no matter how much they wanted to have her hanged, based on Pimentel’s earlier explanation about the capital punishment not being applicable to de Lima’s case.