By JONAS ALPASAN
MANILA – Former Sen. Leila de Lima has been acquitted anew over a drug-related case that was filed against her under former President Rodrigo Duterte.
“I had no doubt from the very beginning that I will be acquitted in all the cases the Duterte regime has fabricated against me based on the merits and the strength of my innocence,” she said.
This is the second drug-related case filed against De Lima that was dismissed. Human rights groups both here and abroad have long decried that these cases are politically motivated.
“The cases against de Lima are part of former President Duterte’s vindictive campaign to destroy her for daring to investigate the human rights abuses he committed while mayor of Davao City and, later, as president of the Philippines. Key witnesses have recanted their testimony, admitting that they were coerced to provide false testimony against her,” said Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director of Human Rights Watch.
Human rights group Karapatan also hailed the decision.
“For six years, Sen. Leila has been detained and pilloried by the Duterte administration, but she remained firm and steadfast in speaking out against Duterte’s crimes,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
Karapatan also called on a Muntinlupa court to grant her bail petition to allow her temporary release.
The former senator has a pending motion for reconsideration filed before Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 256 for a separate drug-related case that was filed against her by the Duterte administration.
Palabay added, “as we welcome Sen. Leila’s acquittal and call for her release, we likewise call for the release of all political prisoners like her who have been persecuted because of their work and beliefs on human rights and social justice.” (RTS)