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If elected, De Guzman-Bello admin to focus on freeing De Lima

Philstar.com
If elected, De Guzman-Bello admin to focus on freeing De Lima
Even in jail, Sen. Leila De Lima remained a fierce critic of the Duterte administration, sending out handwritten dispatches from her cell in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Senate PRIB / File

MANILA, Philippines — If elected into the top two positions in the country, labor leader Ka Leody de Guzman and former lawmaker Walden Bello vowed to release Sen. Leila de Lima, who is on her fifth year of detention in Camp Crame, as one of their first acts in office. 

"Ang gusto kong sabihin is that 'yung aming administrasyon ni Ka Leody, isa sa priority ang human rights at one of the first things we will do is to release Senator Leila de Lima from her unjust imprisonment and nakita na natin 'yung naging testimony ni [former Bureau of Corrections Officer-in-Charge Rafael] Ragos at ni [confessed drug lord Kerwin] Espinosa na frame up talaga ito 'no," Bello said during the PiliPinas Forum 2022 aired on Tuesday.

("What I want to say is that in our administration with Ka Leody, human rights is one of our priorities and one of the first things we will do is to release Sen. Leila de Lima from her unjust imprisonment and we've seen that the testimony of Ragos and Espinosa that this is a frame up.")

Bello, who has been vocal in calling for her release, said De Lima "has been made to suffer" and that this was "directed by the President of the Philippines out of his vindictiveness."

The vice presidential bet vowed that an administration under him and Ka Leody will tackle the issues of extrajudicial killings, and cooperate with the International Criminal Court "in prosecuting Duterte and his minions."

It was earlier revealed that former Bureau of Corrections official Rafael Ragos— the prosecution star witness in De Lima's trial— and confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa recanted their allegations against her.

The Department of Justice, however, said that Ragos' retraction "cannot destroy the strength of evidence" against De Lima. 

Since Feb. 24, 2017, De Lima has been detained on drug charges which she describes as fabricated as part of the Duterte administration's ploy to exact vengeance over her probe into the brutal killings committed during the "drug war."

Even in jail, the lawmaker remained a fierce critic of the Duterte administration, sending out handwritten dispatches from her cell in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

De Lima is running for another term in the Senate, and has the backing of 1Sambayan, the opposition coalition which has endorsed Vice President Leni Robredo as its president. —Angelica Y. Yang

2022 ELECTIONS

LEILA DE LIMA

LEODY DE GUZMAN

WALDEN BELLO

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