Duterte knows why I should be released — De Lima
President Rodrigo Duterte knows what he and his men have done, Senator Leila De Lima said on Tuesday after the former questioned calls for her release.
When asked earlier about his comment on the demands of Asian women leaders to free De Lima, the President asked, “On what grounds?”
“Of course, he knows on what grounds,” De Lima said in a statement.
“On the grounds that the charges against me are all fabricated, based on the perjured statements of convicted felons; that even the perjured testimonies they provided are grossly inadequate to support the finding of probable cause; that the charges filed are even inconsistent with what little evidence the prosecution has; and, most of all, this is all part of my political persecution for daring to stand up for human rights and against EJKs (extrajudicial killings),” she added.
The senator said Duterte was trying to “kick dirt to cover his crime” when he said he did not want to talk about De Lima’s release because “the case is already in court.”
“Like a thief who suddenly becomes self-aware that the evidence of his crime is sitting in plain sight, the President is attempting to surreptitiously, yet futilely, kick dirt to cover his crime by backtracking on his constant public lashings and attacks against me,” the senator said.
She added that the President’s statement was “out of the blue” as he “suddenly becomes self-aware” of the rule against making public statements that prejudge and undermine the presumption of innocence of an accused, whose case has already been filed before the courts.
This, after women parliamentarians from the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD), represented by lawmakers from Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong called on Duterte to desist from “politically persecuting” De Lima.
De Lima is detained on drug charges for allegedly collecting money from crime lords inside the New Bilibid Prison to fund her senatorial bid.
Several inmates testified in Congress that they gave De Lima millions of pesos in drug money in exchange for privileges and perks in prison.
“In response, and after claiming ignorance as to what grounds he ought to do so, he suddenly invoked the fact that cases are already filed with the courts,” said De Lima.
De Lima also noted the “irony” of the President’s response adding that he “has already prejudiced” De Lima’s “right to a fair trial.”
“No amount of backtracking can erase those shameful and shameless tirades now. By his own acts, he has prejudiced my right to a fair trial by effectively poisoning and impairing the independence of the courts,” the senator said.
De Lima also pointed out Duterte’s power to “do what is right.”
“The President knows what he and his men have done. And he knows he has the power to order prosecutors to withdraw the cases against me in order to rectify a monumental wrong,” said De Lima.
“Unfortunately, he does not have the guts to man up to it, and do what is right—free an innocent woman, and stop the killings of his own people,” she added. CBB
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