De Lima invokes right to privacy, claims her phones are being wiretapped

  • Sen. Leila de Lima says her phones are being wiretapped
  • In a senate hearing, she claimed she is entitled to her right for privacy
  • She noted that while she supports necessary amendments to the Anti-Wiretapping Act, there should be a balance

Senator Leila de Lima reiterated her rights to privacy after claiming that her phones are being wiretapped amid allegations about her supposed involvement in the illegal drug trade.

De Lima revealed her cellphones are wiretapped long ago during a Senate hearing on a legislative proposal authorizing the wiretapping of communications of suspected drug pushers, an article written by Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez on GMA News Online stated.

What legitimate purpose is being served? Kung ganun, terrorist po ba ako o dahil ‘yung sinasabi ng iba na coddler ako? ‘Yun ba ang purpose kung bakit ti-nap ang cellphones ko ngayon?” De Lima was quoted saying as she further stressed: “Huwag na tayo maglokohan.” 

[If so,am I a terrorist,or is it because others say I’m a coddler? Is that the purpose why my phones are now wiretapped? Let’s not fool each other.]

In response, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said in jest: “I have also suspected that my cellphone is being tapped.”

Earlier, De Lima had been tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte in the alleged illegal drug operations inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

The lady senator has since denied the accusation; further saying it was a form of harassment on her part.

De Lima, former secretary of the Department of Justice, said that while she supports necessary amendments to the Anti-Wiretapping Act, there should be a balance, especially in ensuring that an individual’s right to privacy is respected.

[Kapag] nakakalimutan natin respetuhin ang karapatan especially the rights of privacy, wala nang legitimate purpose kung hindi tama,” she said.

[If we forget to respect each other’s rights, there is no legitimate purpose if it’s not right.]

Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson raised the same concern as De Lima in the measure filed by Senator Gringo Honasan.

Honasan’s bill, states that drug pushers, manufacturers, cultivators, importers and financiers can be pursued better if the authorities’ enforcement capabilities and investigative tools would be enhanced.

In crafting the bill, Honasan said the Anti-Wiretapping Act of 1965 should already be amended because it restricts the use of “judicially authorized interception of criminal communications and procedures.”

When asked whether they have the technical capability to intercept electronic communications, the PNP and DOJ officials present during the hearing answered in the negative.

“How I wish we have that capability,” dela Rosa stated.