De Lima to focus on dismissal of drug charges after failed re-election bid

De Lima to focus on dismissal of drug charges after failed re-election bid
Detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima (R) waves to members of the media after casting her vote at a polling precinct in the city of Paranaque in suburban Manila on May 13, 2019.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — Detained opposition Sen. Leila de Lima said Wednesday that she will focus on the dismissal of drug charges against her after the lawmaker’s senatorial bid failed.

De Lima placed 23rd in the senatorial race, with over 7.2 million votes.

“I will now have to focus on the dismissal of the fabricated drug cases against me so I can finally be released,” De Lima said in a statement.

“It may have taken years of injustice and persecution, but truth and justice will always prevail. It has no timeline,” she added.

The senator, a fierce critic of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, has been detained since Feb. 24, 2017 over charges alleging her hand in the proliferation of drugs in the New Bilibid Prison when she was justice secretary. De Lima has repeatedly denied the charges.

Last week, Ronnie Dayan, De Lima’s former bodyguard, recanted the statements he made during a 2016 congressional hearing implicating the former justice chief in the illegal drug trade in the national penitentiary.

Confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa also retracted his previous accusations against De Lima, saying in a counter-affidavit that he was “only coerced, pressured, intimidated, and seriously threatened by the police” to make his previous statements.

De Lima has two pending cases. She had been acquitted in one case.

Rolly Francis Peoro, one of De Lima’s legal counsels, said they are hopeful the court will reverse the earlier denial of their demurrer to evidence or will grant their new motion to dismiss the case against the senator, or at the very least grant her bail. — Gaea Katreena Cabico


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