By Genalyn Kabiling
Detained Senator Leila de Lima is “no prisoner of conscience,” Malacañang insisted on Sunday even after the Liberal International recognized her for promoting human rights and called for her release.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the Prize for Freedom award given to De Lima should not distract the nation from the real issue involving the senator.
He noted that the Liberal International counts among its members in Asia the Liberal Party of the Philippines.
“While we are certain that it is an honor for the lady senator to receive such an award from her party and ideological allies, we believe that the award she received cannot distract our people from the real issue,” Roque said.
“Sen. De Lima, we reiterate, is no prisoner of conscience. There is now a case against her before our local court and as a respect to her right to due process, all legal processes are proceeding accordingly,” he added.
De Lima, currently detained pending a trial on drug involvement charges, was recently awarded the “Prize for Freedom” by the international federation of liberal political parties. She is reportedly the second Filipino to receive the award, next to the late President Corazon Aquino in 1987.