Free former senator Leila de Lima – Bayan
MANILA, Philippines — The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Thursday called for the freedom of detained former senator Leila de Lima anew, a day before the promulgation of the former senator’s drug-related case.
In a statement, Bayan said that de Lima’s continuous detention shows how rotten the country’s justice system is.
“On the eve of the promulgation of the second trumped up case against Sen. Leila de Lima in Muntinlupa RTC No. 204, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan is once again calling for the dismissal of the case and Sen. de Lima’s immediate release from jail,” Bayan chairperson Teddy Casiño said in a statement
“Sen. de Lima’s six-year incarceration based on bogus, fabricated drug charges ranks as an injustice of the most cruel kind. She has been stripped of her rights, denied her role as an elected senator, persecuted and shamed in the most vile manner by the highest officials of the land. Her continuing detention is a testimony to country’s rotten justice system,” he added.
De Lima’s camp has consistently maintained that the senator, accused of receiving funds from drug lords and supposedly benefitting from the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison, was only jailed because she criticized the drug war of former president Rodrigo Duterte.
Bayan said the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. may be considered “equally liable” for the injustice done against de Lima, as she remained incarcerated despite key witnesses admitting that they were only coerced or forced to testify against the former senator.
“That De Lima remains detained despite all major prosecution witnesses recanting their statements makes the Marcos administration equally liable for violating her rights and perpetuating such a grave injustice,” Casiño said.
“Sen. de Lima is just one of many victims of trumped up and politically-motivated cases in the country. Hundreds more like her are languishing in jail for daring to criticize and fight the abuses and wrongdoings of those in power. We likewise call for the release of other political prisoners, especially those who are ill and aging. Like Sen. de Lima, they too deserve to be free,” he added.
De Lima in a statement earlier called on people to continue standing with her, as she continues her bid to be freed from jail.
It has been over six years since she was jailed.
“With Truth on my side, I remain hopeful and optimistic of a positive outcome in my two remaining drug cases. In the name of Truth and Justice…Hindi po tayo pababayaan ng Mahal na Panginoon (The Lord will not forsake me),” she said. (with reports from Aliah Gumasing, INQUIRER.net trainee)