Hontiveros, Pimentel, Poe welcome De Lima’s granted bail plea
MANILA, Philippines — Several senators on Monday welcomed the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court’s decision to grant detained former senator Leila de Lima’s bail plea for her remaining drug case.
“Alongside countless other Filipinos, I am immensely happy for my friend and former colleague in the Senate. I know that after years of isolation, she is coming back to the loving company of her family, friends, and supporters. Sen. Leila, we are all longing for your return. We all knew this day would come,” Sen. Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.
Hontiveros, however, said it is sad and infuriating that “the many years that were stolen and denied to former Senator de Lima” will no longer be recovered.
She likewise noted that like de Lima, there are many more innocent Filipinos who await their freedom after being falsely accused.
“We must work harder to ensure that all incarcerated persons are able to avail of speedy remedies under our justice system so that countless innocent [Filipinos], like Leila, will soon be able to regain their precious freedom,” said Hontiveros in English and Filipino.
In a separate briefing on Monday, Hontiveros told reporters that the development in the former lawmaker’s case is a great vindication, not only for de Lima but also for the entire opposition.
Hontiveros said it was de Lima who took the hardest blow from former president Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, on the other hand, said he’s happy for de Lima.
“I am happy for her, and [I] congratulate her legal team,” he told INQUIRER.net in a Viber message.
Senator Grace Poe, meantime, said nearly seven years of incarceration is “long and arduous.”
“Mayaman o mahirap, hindi makatarungan ang manatili ng mahabang panahon sa kulungan dahil sa mabagal na proseso ng batas [sa bansa],” said Poe.
(Rich or poor, it is not fair for someone to stay in jail for a long time because of the slow legal process in the country.)
Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, a close ally of former president Duterte, said he respects the decision of the court.
“I always respect court decisions as I always observe separation of powers,” he said.
De Lima was accused of being involved in the illegal drugs trade and was arrested in 2017.