Pacquiao agrees De Lima must be freed
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential contender Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday backed calls for Sen. Leila de Lima’s release after two witnesses retracted their testimonies against her.
This came after a member of his senatorial slate and human rights lawyer Lutgardo “Lutz” Barbo expressed his thoughts on the issue adding that he joins calls for the release of De Lima. Pacquiao, for his part, concurred.
“Ako agree ako dun sa inexplain ni Senador Lutz Barbo na palayain na si De Lima dahil ang tagal na nga ng panahon,” said Pacquiao in a media briefing in Cebu Province.
(I agree with Senator Lutz Barbo’s statement that De Lima should be released because it’s already been too long.)
“Sabi ko nga, kawawa naman ‘yung tao kung halimbawa inosente siya eh ang tagal na, ilang taon na? Limang taon. Mahigit. So, sana palayain na … Para ‘yung tao naman mabigyan ng pagkakataon para mangampanya,” he added.
(As I said, it’s a pity that she – for example, she’s innocent, it’s been so long, how many years already? Five years. More than. So, hopefully, she is set free… So she can be given the chance to campaign.)
Barbo has also criticized how flawed the justice system in the country is, pointing out that people like de Lima who are not even convicted are detained while some who are convicted continue to roam free.
“Meron isang dating First Lady convicted on seven counts ng graft and corruption and each count is 11 years. ‘Di 77 years yun pero she is free as a bird. That’s unfair,” said Barbo.
(There is a former First Lady convicted on seven counts of graft and corruption and each count is 11 years. That should’ve been 77 years but she is free as a bird. That’s unfair.)
“Meron ding mga nakakulong na mga senador noon, ‘yung iba tumatakbo, sitting and previous senators, and they were charged with very, very serious accusations of graft and corruption. Napaka-unfair, talagang flawed ang sistema natin,” he added.
(There were also those senators who were jailed, others running, sitting and previous senators, and they were charged with very, very serious accusations of graft and corruption. It’s so unfair, our system is really flawed.)
It can be recalled that Pacquiao previously expressed wanting to grant de Lima due process and a speedy trial, further noting the slow resolution of the detained senator’s cases.
Recently, two witnesses against senator, self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and former Bureau of Corrections chief Rafael Ragos, retracted their allegations against de Lima, a fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Both Espinosa and Ragos claimed they were “coerced” into making “false” accusations linking de Lima to the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison.
De Lima has been detained in Camp Crame, Quezon City, since February 2017 on drug charges which she repeatedly vehemently denied.
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