Malacañang: De Lima’s ‘Prize for Freedom’ award can’t distract people from real issue
Malacañang said on Sunday that detained Sen. Leila De Lima is “no prisoner of conscience” and receiving an award “cannot distract our people from the real issue.”
The Palace is reacting to De Lima becoming the second Filipino to receive the “Prize for Freedom” after former President Corazon Aquino who received the award from Liberal International (LI) in 1987.
“The Liberal International, which awarded the Prize for Freedom to Senator Leila De Lima, counts among its members in Asia the Liberal Party of the Philippines. While we are certain that it is an honor for the lady senator to receive such an award from her party and ideological allies, we believe that the award she received cannot distract our people from the real issue,” Malacañang said in a statement.
De Lima, one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s staunchest critics, has been detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center due to her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade when she was still Justice Secretary.
“Sen. De Lima, we reiterate, is no prisoner of conscience. There is now a case against her before our local court and as a respect to her right to due process, all legal processes are proceeding accordingly,” the Palace added.
An arrest warrant against the senator was issued on February 23, 2017 after the court found probable cause in the charges filed by the Department of Justice.
Authorities served De Lima’s arrest warrant at her residence but the senator was holed up at her office at the Senate. She surrendered the following day to the PNP. /ee
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