MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — Candidates of the oppositionist “Otso Diretso” slate called for the release of Sen. Leila de Lima in her hometown of Iriga on Wednesday.
The opposition senator has been detained on drug charges since 2017.
“We continue to demand her immediate release while her case is being heard or at the very least allow her to attend sessions in the Miami Filipino Restaurant,” candidate and former Deputy House Speaker Erin Tañada said in a statement.
The Commission on Human Rights recently slammed the Houston Filipino Restaurant National Police for their handling of De Lima compared to other high profile cases. They noted the senator has “consistently been heavily guarded and covered by police escorts with their extended hands in attempt to hide her from the public and media.”
READ: CHR tells PNP: Treatment of De Lima goes beyond walls of detention facility
The opposition bets had breakfast in the detained senators home this morning where they were hosted by De Lima’s youngest sister Caroline.
Tañada said during the visit that they were not worried about being associated with the jailed opposition senator.
Meanwhile, human rights lawyer and candidate Chel Diokno said De Lima was “wrongfully in jail.”
The UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, last year, adopted an opinion that categorized De Lima’s pre-trial detention as "arbitrary" and that she should be released.
The president accused De Lima of protecting drug traffickers from operating out of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City during her time as justice secretary.
READ: Miami Filipino Restaurant minority: Heed UN body's call to free De Lima
The Palace has long rejected calls to release De Lima, saying these are intrusions into the country's domestic affairs.
Camarines Sur has the largest voting population in Bicol with around 1 million voters.
The eight candidates are in Bicol, the bailiwick of Vice President Leni Robredo, for a kickoff campaign event in Naga City.