De Lima supporters mark her 1000th day in detention, call for her release
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - November 20, 2019 - 12:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — Supporters of Sen. Leila de Lima on Wednesday marked her 1000th day in detention and called for the dismissal of the drug charges against the lawmaker which they said is trumped up.

De Lima is facing conspiracy to commit drug trading charges before Muntinlupa courts, and has been detained inside the police headquarters in the Quezon City since Feb. 24, 2017.

The senator is accused of allowing and benefiting from the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison during his stint as Justice secretary—an allegation she denied.

As her detention reaches 1000 days, her supporters reiterated the call to drop the charges against De Lima and release her from detention.

Global leaders call for De Lima's release

In a statement published on the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Wednesday, Vice President Leni Robredo, former President Benigno Aquino III and hundreds of leaders across the globe condemned De Lima’s continued detention.

“We condemn the wrongful and indefinite imprisonment of [De Lima] whose cases are on protracted and are prosecuted with the use of dubious testimonies of inmates,” the leaders said in an indignation statement

“Given the dubiousness of the charges against [De Lima] and the indubitable violations of her rights, we urge the Government of the Philippines to immediately free [De Lima] and to drop the charges against her,” they added.

Philippine opposition lawmakers, European  and French parliamentary members, United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston and Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong are among the signatories of the statement.

The signatories also said that De Lima's prolonged detention is persecution, "undeniably caused by her exercise of freedoms of thought, conscience, opinion and expression, and her right to participate in government affairs as a citizen and as a Senator."

In a separate statement, the Human Rights Watch also called for the dropping of “bogus” charges against De Lima.

“Her persecution is a testament to the Duterte government’s increasing authoritarianism,” HRW said. It also called for De Lima’s release and said: “She has suffered enough for standing up for human rights in the Philippines.”

De Lima’s supporters, including Aquino and former lawmakers Erin Tañada and Gary Alejano, also attended the mass and indignation rally at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

In October 2018, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo dismissed concerns raised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union over the cases against De Lima and then-Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, another government critic.

"It is apparent this organization of foreign parliamentarians does not respect the ongoing proceedings being conducted by our courts of justice when it reached an incredible solution on the cases involving senators De Lima and Trillanes," Panelo said then.

BENIGNO AQUINO III DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE LEILA DE LIMA LENI ROBREDO
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