MANILA – Senator Leila de Lima has not applied for bail amid calls from 2 US senators to release her from detention, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Wednesday.
"Senator De Lima has not applied, has not filed any petition for bail. That's the simple answer. She has questioned many orders of the court, even her own indictment which reached all the way to the Supreme Court, which the petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court, but she has not applied for bail," Guevarra said.
In 2017, the High Court junked De Lima's plea for her release and the dismissal of drug-related charges against her.
The senator was accused of accepting drug money from prisoners when she was justice secretary from 2010 and 2015.
On ANC's Headstart, Guevarra said the offense is non-bailable and punishable by life imprisonment.
"If you think that the evidence of the prosecution is weak, if you're the accused you would probably consider filling a petition for bail. But she has not done so," Guevarra explained.
"I could not really second guess why Sen. De Lima has not done so. Maybe she believes that the evidence of the prosecution is strong," he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte barred US senators Patrick Leahy and Dick Durbin after they pushed for the inclusion of the provision in the US 2020 national budget banning the entry of Filipino officials involved in what they called the "wrongful imprisonment" of De Lima, a staunch administration critic.
"This is interference with the legal and judicial process under our own laws. Why would you ask somebody who is still undergoing trial to be freed now?" said Guevarra.
Should the US push through with the ban on Filipino officials over De Lima's case, Malacañang said Americans planning to visit the Philippines would be required to secure a visa.