De Lima relinquishes Senate justice panel seat for Hontiveros

De Lima relinquishes Senate justice panel seat for Hontiveros

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Leila de Lima has relinquished her membership in the Senate justice committee for Senator Risa Hontiveros as discussions on the return of death penalty in the country were revived in the upper chamber following President ’s renewed push for capital punishment.

In a statement Tuesday, De Lima said she relinquished her membership in favor of Hontiveros as “a tactical response of anti-death penalty solons to the earlier move within the camp of pro-capital punishment.”

She was referring to the election of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa as a member of the justice panel after Senator Sherwin Gatchalian offered to yield his membership to the former national police chief.

During Monday’s plenary session, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon read a letter sent to her by De Lima, who is currently detained in Camp Crame, manifesting that she is relinquishing her committee membership.

After reading De Lima’s letter, Drilon then moved to elect Hontiveros as a member of the justice panel.

“May I move that the chamber accepts the resignation of Senator De Lima and in her place, we elect Senator Risa Hontiveros who is a representative of the minority in the committee,” he said.

The motion was then approved with no objections.

In her statement, De Lima said she wants Hontiveros to have the opportunity to vote and fully join the committee or subcommittee hearings and deliberations on the death penalty bills as well as her proposed measures referred the justice panel.

“As a courageous voice in the Senate who speaks truth to power and fights for justice and human rights, Sen. Risa’s participation and vote will definitely matter because she will always be on the side of justice,” the detained senator said.