Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima’s fellow opposition lawmaker and Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel C. Lagman has conveyed his solidarity with her as she continues her unwavering fight for justice and freedom.
In his contra-State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered at the House of Representatives last July 24, Lagman condemned the Duterte administration for continually detaining De Lima who spoke out against the excesses of the government.
“Less than one year after the start of the Duterte administration, a signal injustice was perpetrated with the summary incarceration of Sen. Leila de Lima on February 24, 2017,” he said.
“The only sin of Sen. De Lima is her courage to talk back against the President and criticize the ferocity of his war on drugs,” he added.
De Lima’s continuing detention was among the issues that Lagman tackled in his contra-SONA, which also includes, among others, death penalty law, human rights violations, the government’s rejection of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution and poverty alleviation.
Lagman, also a known staunch critic of the present administration, pointed out that the trumped-up drug charges against De Lima are lamely supported by the affidavits of convicted felons serving long sentences in the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
According to him, these witnesses used by the government’s prosecutors against De Lima are in fact convicted criminals who had committed and were sentenced for crimes involving moral turpitude, such as murder, kidnapping and drug trading.
Lagman likewise called out the Duterte administration for persistently ignoring the growing clamors from the international groups and individuals for De Lima’s immediate and unconditional release from her unjust and illegal detention.
“Even foreign legislators and bodies have urged the Philippine Government to immediately release De Lima who they consider a ‘prisoner of conscience’,” he said.
The Albay legislator likewise recalled the support that De Lima gained from US senators and congressmen who filed respective resolutions, logged as Senate Resolution 142 and House Resolution 233, condemning her unjust detention.
“The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in 2018 also adopted an Opinion that De Lima’s pre-trial detention was
‘arbitrary’ and that the ‘appropriate remedy’ would be to release Ms. De Lima immediately,” he added.
Despite the administration’s efforts to taint her reputation, De Lima continues to gain support from international
organizations and human rights community as they found no strong evidence against her to keep her in detention for more than two years now.
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