De Lima thanks US senators for renewed calls for her immediate release, exoneration

Published February 21, 2021, 2:42 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Sunday thanked United States (US) senators Ed Markey, Richard Durbin, and Patrick Leahy for renewing their call for her immediate release and full exoneration from the drug charges that were filed against her by the government.

Senator Leila de Lima (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The American lawmakers made the appeal following De Lima’s acquittal in one of her three illegal drug charges.

Leahy is US Senate President Pro-Tempore and second only to US Vice President Kamala Harris who is concurrently the US Senate President.

On the other hand, Durbin sits as the US Senate Majority Whip. 

Both Leahy and Durbin are ranking officials of the Democratic Party after President Joe Biden, Harris, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In their joint statement, Marky, Durbin and Leahy welcomed De Lima’s acquittal in one of the three drug charges filed against her, but they maintained that this was “clearly not enough.”

“The Duterte administration has wrongfully detained Senator De Lima for four years under false charges because she is willing to speak out and stand up to the egregious abuses of the government,” their statement read.

“We will continue to hold the Duterte government responsible for its abuses until Senator De Lima is released, all of the fabricated charges against her and other prisoners of conscience are dismissed, and the victims of President Duterte’s campaign of abuse against the Filipino people have obtained justice,” they added.

De Lima, a vocal critic of the Duterte administration, thanked the three US senators for vouching on her innocence and for their continued concern on her plight.

“It is clear that the charges against me are Duterte’s brainchild, and the three honorable US Senators are well aware of this as they know that the cases against me are bogus and manufactured,” she said.

“I thank them not only for recognizing these facts, but also for their steadfast resolve to ensure that I get the justice that I deserve. To Senators Leahy, Durbin and Markey, thank you for your continued trust and support for our shared causes for human rights, justice and democracy,” she added.

Judge Liezel Aquiatan of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 205 had granted De Lima’s Demurrer to Evidence in Case Number 17-166, but denied a similar demurrer in Case Number 17-165, in separate rulings last Feb. 17. De Lima’s legal counsels said they will file a motion for reconsideration of the latter ruling.

At the same time, De Lima also expressed her gratitude to US Senator Marco Rubio for supporting her by urging the government to drop all charges against her. “I thank Sen. Rubio for his support and demand for justice, which is another reminder that the world is watching and that I will be vindicated in time,” she said.

 
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