Robredo: De Lima acquittal shows her only sin was to stand up for what’s right
MANILA, Philippines — The acquittal of former senator Leila de Lima in the second drug-related case filed against her shows that her only sin was to stand up for what is right, a longtime ally and former vice president Leni Robredo said on Friday.
Robredo, hours after Branch 204 of the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court acquitted the former senator of involvement in the drug trade, said she has been sure since the start that de Lima is not guilty of any wrongdoing.
De Lima faced three drug cases for supposedly benefitting from the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison, when she was Justice secretary during the time of former president Benigno Aquino III.
De Lima’s camp, however, claimed that the cases were borne out of political vendetta after the former senator criticized the former president Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war.
“Tagumpay ito ng katotohanan pagkatapos ng mahigit na anim na taon ng paninira at kasinungalingan laban kay Sen. Leila, na ang tanging kasalanan lang ay ang matapang na pagtindig para sa tama,” Robredo said.
(This is the victory of truth after six years of demolition and lies against Sen. Leila, which her only sin was to stand up for what is right.)
“Simula pa lang, buong-buo ang aking tiwala sa kawalan ng kasalanan ni Sen Leila. Sa kabila ng anim na taon na siya’y inipit at pinahirapan, nanindigan ako na darating ang araw na mababawi niya ang kanyang kalayaan at mabuting pangalan,” she added.
(Since the start, I am in full trust that Sen. Leila is innocent. Despite the six long years that she had been pressured and oppressed, I know that the day will come that she will regain her freedom and good reputation.)
Robredo said she joins all those who celebrate the acquittal of de Lima, adding that the court decision only shows that there is no strong evidence against the former senator.
This is the second drug case against de Lima that was dismissed.
Robredo — who ran for president in the 2022 national elections — has repeatedly called for de Lima’s freedom, especially after key witnesses recanted their testimonies against the former senator.
Convicted drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and former Bureau of Corrections chief Rafael Ragos both admitted in 2022 that they were only pressured to pin de Lima down.
Last May, when the two recanted their statements, Robredo said that there is no more reason for de Lima to stay in the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center.
De Lima, who is also a former Commission on Human Rights chairperson, ran for Senate reelection in 2022 under Robredo’s ticket. She however failed to land a spot in the Magic 12.