MANILA -- Malacañang on Thursday expressed hope anew that the Senate minority bloc, which has called for the release of opposition Senator Leila de Lima, will leave it to the courts to decide the senator’s fate.

“As to the call of senators, that’s up to the courts. I hope the senators will not politicize our courts,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press conference in Iloilo.

Roque, a lawyer, appealed to minority bloc senators not to interfere with the process and let the courts do their job.

“Let our courts function as they should -- free from political interference. I am appealing to the opposition senators, do not influence the judges,” he added.

Roque, meanwhile, sarcastically greeted De Lima who will be marking her first year in detention on Saturday.

De Lima is currently detained at the Philippine National Police over drug charges.

“Happy first anniversary in detention, Senator Leila de Lima,” Roque quipped.

The Senate minority bloc, led by Senator Franklin Drilon, earlier pushed for the approval of Senate Resolution No. 645, calling for the release of De Lima, who is also a member of the bloc.

They described De Lima as the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte administration for being a vocal critic of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Those who signed the resolution were Drilon, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Risa Hontiveros, Senators Francis Pangilinan, and Antonio Trillanes IV. (PNA)