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Leila de Lima maintains innocence on drug charges
“Today, I declare myself free. For though I may be physically detained, my mind is freer than it has ever been, my dignity is intact and my will to fight to protect the freedom and interests of the Filipino people is stronger than ever,” De Lima said in a statement.
Senate PRIB/Cesar Tumambo/File

Leila de Lima maintains innocence on drug charges

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - February 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima yesterday maintained her innocence on the drug charges filed by the Duterte administration against her, a day after marking her third year in detention.

“Today, I declare myself free. For though I may be physically detained, my mind is freer than it has ever been, my dignity is intact and my will to fight to protect the freedom and interests of the Filipino people is stronger than ever,” De Lima said in a statement.

“Thus, I am not a victim. I am not merely a survivor. I am not just a fighter. I am a defender,” she added in her address at the recent “International Forum on Lawfare: Weaponizing the Law vs Democratic Dissent” read by her youngest brother, Vicente de Lima II.

She vowed to continue fighting using truth, reason and compassion.

The senator presented herself to authorities on Feb. 24, 2017 after she was accused of abetting the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison when she was justice secretary during the previous administration.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said he hopes the United States State Department will exercise prudence and be circumspect in evaluating the list of names of individuals submitted by De Lima that allegedly were responsible for her imprisonment and recommended to be barred from entering the US.

The detained senator, however, did not reveal the names of those who were allegedly responsible for her detention.

Guevarra said that more than knowing those in De Lima’s list of “persecutors,” he is more interested in appealing to the US government to be fair in its assessment. – With Evelyn Macairan

LEILA DE LIMA
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