Hontiveros on hostage attempt on De Lima: Unjust, barbaric, despicable

Sen. Risa Hontiveros on 9 October slammed the attempted hostage-taking of detained former Sen. Leila de Lima at the Camp Crame Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police in Quezon City.

“We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the hostage taking of former Sen. Leila de Lima right inside the Philippine National Police Custodial Center. This is unjust, barbaric, and despicable,” Hontiveros was quoted in a statement.

“We demand from the PNP and the Department of Justice an explanation and a thorough investigation of this violent incident. We need answers.”

Hontiveros issued the statement after the incident which, according to a police report, involved three Persons Under Police Custody (PUPC) detained in the same compound as De Lima’s cell.

The PUPCs, armed with an improvised knife, were said to have first taken hostage a police officer who was bringing in breakfast while the detainees were out of their cells for their scheduled “sunning.”

A responding police officer shot two of the PUPCs. The third one ran to De Lima’s custodial cell and attempted to take her hostage, too.

Special Action Forces personnel shot the hostage-taker.

Two of the hostage-takers were pronounced dead while the third survived.

Hontiveros stressed the immediate need to identify those involved in the incident.

“How can armed detainees easily gain access to the custodial cell of Sen. Leila, which is deep inside the PNP national headquarters?” she asked.

“What lapses in security must be addressed, and most of all, who is responsible for these lapses? We strongly deplore this breach of duty.”

Hontiveros also asked the PNP to beef up the security provided to De Lima to avoid such an incident from happening again.

“The violence against former Sen. De Lima is only the latest act of injustice against her,” said Hontiveros.

“Hindi sana nangyari ito kung sa simula pa lang, hindi na kinulong si Sen. Leila dahil lang sa mga walang basehan na kaso. This is political persecution at its worst.”

Hontiveros took the opportunity to call for the immediate release of De Lima, who has been detained since 2017 for allegedly pocketing payoffs from drug lords when she was justice secretary to raise money for her senatorial campaign in 2016.

No evidence has been presented against her in court.

One of the three cases has been dismissed.

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