Court’s denial of Leila de Lima’s bail plea dismays solons
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc have expressed dismay over the denial of former Senator Leila de Lima’s petition for bail.
In separate statements on Wednesday, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas and Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. France Castro lamented the decision of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court 256 to reject de Lima’s bid for temporary freedom.
De Lima, a fierce critic of the bloody drug war during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte, only has one pending drug case left before the court since two other drug cases lodged against her have been dismissed.
Castro said she was shocked and disappointed by the rejection of de Lima’s bail plea.
“Denying bail to Senator de Lima, despite her poor health condition and the lack of evidence against her, is a clear indication that justice in this country is influenced by powerful interests,” she said.
The lawmaker also pointed out that de Lima is not the first critic of the government to face political persecution. She said this was “a blatant disregard for human rights and the rule of law.”
Castro further sounded the call for the government to put an end to the culture of impunity and uphold the rights of Filipinos regardless of their varying political beliefs.
“We call on the authorities to immediately release Senator de Lima and drop all charges against her. We will not stop in our fight for justice and human rights,” she pressed.
Brosas echoed Castro’s sentiments as she again asserted that the cases filed against de Lima had always been smeared with political agenda.
“The government cannot deny that these charges are politically motivated and that her investigations into the extrajudicial killings are the reason why she was charged with trumped-up cases,” Brosas said.
“We strongly condemn the continued persecution of critics and opposition leaders who dare to stand up against the government’s anti-poor policies.”
Despite the latest setback in de Lima’s case, Brosas said the women’s party-list will “continue to stand in solidarity” with the embattled former lawmaker.
Brosas said they will likewise “demand that the trumped-up charges against her be dropped and that she be afforded due process.”
Former Bayan Muna lawmaker Neri Colmenares also questioned why government officials involved in alleged crimes in the contentious drug war and Pharmally deal get off scot-free, while de Lima remains in prison for “baseless, trumped-up cases.”
“We are sure the International Criminal Court will note this development on the issue of whether the Philippine justice system is able and willing to dispense justice without fear or favor. Senator Leila de Lima should be freed,” he said.
During de Lima’s stint as head of the Commission on Human Rights, she led an investigation into the killings of the so-called Davao Death Squad during Duterte’s mayoralty.
De Lima later sought a Senate probe into the bloody drug war during Duterte’s presidency, which evidently angered the sharp-tongued former chief executive.
De Lima was arrested in 2017 and has since been detained despite having no criminal conviction.