Lawmakers, groups laud Leila de Lima’s acquittal: ‘We need her in fight vs. tyranny’
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers from the House of Representatives and progressive groups on Friday welcomed the acquittal of former senator Leila de Lima from one of the drug cases filed against her.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, who is also president of the Liberal Party, asked that Leila de Lima be freed on bail for her remaining case.
“Justice is rendered, albeit late. After having been acquitted in two of the three contrived drug cases against her, Sen. Leila de Lima must be freed on bail in the last case still pending trial. She deserves full exoneration and final liberation,” Lagman.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro also welcomed the decision, adding that she hopes to see de Lima vindicated from all of her cases.
“We hope that Sen. Leila will be freed soon because we need her in the front lines in the fight against the forces of tyranny and disinformation who are again trying to trample on the Filipino people’s rights,” she said in a statement.
Castro also added de Lima’s imprisonment is a result of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s power tripping.
“We know that the charges against her were all trumped up and [were] part of the Duterte administration’s tactic of silencing its critics,” she said.
Gabriela Women’s Party also said they are “elated” to hear about de Lima’s acquittal, as it confirms that the cases were fabricated.
“We hope that the third and last drug allegation against her will also be junked following this development to finally grant her freedom from six long years of detention and injustice. Likewise, we press on with the demand to free all female political prisoners who, like De Lima, had been slapped with trumped up charges,” the partylist said in a statement.
Meanwhile, political group Akbayan Party said de Lima is “one more step to freedom” after her second acquittal.
“Now that the truth has finally come to light, we will continue to campaign for De Lima’s complete release and the dismissal of her remaining charges. Today marks a huge step in Leila’s long walk to freedom, and we will be with her when that day finally arrives,” the group said in a statement.
Rights group Karapatan also lauded de Lima’s acquittal.
“As we welcome Sen. Leila’s acquittal and call for her release, we likewise call for the release of all political prisoners like her who have been persecuted because of their work and beliefs on human rights and social justice,” the group said.
Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares said Leila de Lima’s acquittal was late but he welcomed it nonetheless.
“The dismissal of the drug case against de Lima is long overdue given that there was no case in the first place as the witnesses were just forced to lie in court. At any rate, this is a good development, and we hope that she will be freed soon with the resolution of her last case,” he said.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) also celebrated de Lima’s victory, adding that she was a victim of political persecution.
“She suffered unfairly during her years of incarceration. We sincerely hope that she regains her freedom soon so she can join the people in our continuing battle for truth, justice, and accountability,” said the KMP.
Since 2017, de Lima has repeatedly denied the cases filed against her.
This is her second acquittal, with one more drug case pending.