Various groups celebrate as court allows Leila de Lima to post bail
MANILA, Philippines — Several groups celebrated the “long overdue” granting of bail to former Senator Leila de Lima on her remaining drug case after almost seven years in detention.
According to Human Rights Watch, De Lima, in the first place, should never have been detained for merely performing her duties.
“She never should have been unjustly prosecuted and detained by former President Rodrigo Duterte, whose administration concocted evidence and used the machinery of an abusive state to punish her for performing her duties as a senator and speaking out against the ‘war on drugs,’” HRW Deputy Asia Director Bryony Lau said in a statement.
She then tagged De Lima’s struggle as an inspiration to a generation of human rights defenders in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the Magdalo Group, headed by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, also celebrated the granting of bail to De Lima.
The group likewise blasted the Duterte administration for “abusing” its power to prosecute critics.
“The whole world will now know how Duterte misused and abused power to persecute those who dared stand up to his murderous regime,” Trillanes said via X (formerly Twitter).
For its part, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said that De Lima’s release was “long overdue.”
“Sen. De Lima deserves her freedom and ultimately the dismissal of all remaining cases against her,” Bayan president Renato Reyes Jr. said in a statement.
“We wish her the best on her temporary release and look forward to having her back at the physical frontlines of the defense of human rights,” he added.
According to Bayan, Duterte and those responsible for the “ trumped up charges” against De Lima should be held accountable.
It also called for the release of political prisoners currently at 700 under the Marcos administration.
Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, who ran for senator in 2022, hailed the granting of De Lima’s bail as “a huge victory for justice.”
“I hope that you will be completely proven innocent and that those behind your persecution will be held accountable,” he said.
He also thanked De Lima’s legal team, composed of Teddy Rigoroso, Filibon Tacardon, Raymond Baguilat, Rolly Peoro, and Dino De Leon.
De Lima has been detained since Feb. 24, 2017 — for drug charges which her camp said were “trumped up” — just months after launching a Senate inquiry into President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
She has already been acquitted of two of three charges filed against her.