De Lima thanks people behind mounting calls for her release after Espinosa retraction

Reelectionist Senator Leila de Lima thanked individuals and groups who expressed their solidarity with her after Kerwin Espinosa recanted all of his allegations against her in relation to the illegal drug trade.

De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte administration, said the mounting calls for her release give her hope that the justice she has long been fighting for is already within reach.

“Since Kerwin Espinosa recanted all his allegations against me, the clamor for my freedom and justice is louder than ever,” she said.

After Espinosa retracted his drug allegations against De Lima in a counter-affidavit filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) last April 28, supporters of De Lima renewed their calls for her immediate release from detention.

Vice presidential candidate and Senator Francis Pangilinan, in a statement, said De Lima should be freed considering that the recent development shows that the allegations made against her were only made up.

Another vice presidential aspirant, Professor Walden Bello, for his part, said that one of his and ‘’Ka’’ Leody De Guzman’s campaign calls has been the “unconditional release of this long-suffering victim of a frame-up based on nothing else but the president vindictiveness".

On Twitter, senatorial aspirants lawyer Chel Diokno, and former House members Teddy Baguilat and Neri Colmenares also demanded for De Lima’s freedom.

Baguilat said he hopes to share the stage with De Lima, who is also running under the Robredo-Pangilinan ticket, in the upcoming political rally with Tropang Angat.

"The trumped up charges against Sen. Leila de Lima have now crumbled. She should be freed now," Colmemares said.

Human Rights Watch also joined calls to free De Lima, with Carlos Conde saying that "The charges against @SenLeilaDeLima are fabricated by the Duterte regime. She should be released from police detention immediately."

Butch Olano, section director of Amnesty International Philippines, said this is a “veritable proof” that De Lima “is a victim of political persecution, targeted and singled out by the Duterte administration for her legitimate work as a human rights defender and duly-elected legislator".

Opinion columnists Richard Heydarian stressed that of all the critics of “TATAY’s WORST policies,” alluding to Mr. Duterte, “Senator DE LIMA has undoubtedly made the BIGGEST SACRIFICE of all!”

Gideon Lasco also called for the lady senator’s “immediate freedom".

Veteran lawyer Theodore Te, meanwhile, called on the DOJ secretary to direct prosecutors to do the following: withdraw the cases against De Lima, move to dismiss the cases, and not object to her immediate release from detention.