Aquino admin officials, personalities laud De Lima's case dismissal

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Aquino admin officials, personalities laud De Lima's case dismissal
This photo shows ex-Sen. Leila de Lima.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — Opposition figures and former government officials during the administration of late President Benigno Aquino III were delighted by the dismissal of the third and last drug charge faced by former Sen. Leila de Lima.

On Monday, the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 206 granted the former senator’s demurrer to evidence which is tantamount to the case’s dismissal.

In separate statements, supporters of De Lima welcomed the decision of the RTC.

“Vindication,” said Abigail Valte, former presidential spokesperson of Aquino, in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

“Congrats, Sen. @AttyLeiladeLima! Your long-awaited personal vindication has finally come. Your next chapter begins,” former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who was a member of the Senate opposition, also said in a post on X.

It can be recalled that De Lima served as the Justice secretary during the Aquino administration.

As of writing, the Department of Justice has yet to issue a statement about her case dismissal.

Meanwhile, in separate statements, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) and rights group Karapatan also welcomed the decision of the Muntinlupa RTC.

"We have been closely following this last case of the former senator and we laud the decision of Judge Gener Gito granting the demurrer. Leila de Lima is now free like a bird, and all charges are now dismissed. This is a victory not only for de Lima but also for the rule of law and justice in our country,” Sonny Matula, President of FFW said.

“Karapatan welcomes the dismissal of all trumped up charges vs former Sen. Leila de Lima, with the Muntinlupa court granting her demurrer,” Karapatan Secretary General Tinay Palabay also said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Palabay added that "Sen. Leila is a victim of unjust arrest and detention, and we support her efforts to pursue justice against those who perpetrated these acts of reprisal and judicial harassment against her because of her vocal opposition to the extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s drug war."

“In the light of this development, we call on authorities to release all political prisoners who like Sen. de Lima faced trumped-up charges because of the work that they do in upholding and defending human and people’s rights,” she added. 

Free Legal Assistance Group Chairperson Chel Diokno also joined the jubilation over De Lima’s case dismissal.

“Vindicated! Salamat, @AttyLeiladeLima sa hindi pagsuko sa laban para sa katarungan at katotohanan. Ito’y patunay na ang katotohanan ay mananaig pa rin ang hustisya sa gitna ng mga kasinungalingan,” Diokno wrote in a post on X.

(Vindicated! Thank you, @AttyLeiladeLima, for not giving up the fight for justice and truth. This is proof that truth and justice will still prevail amidst the lies.)

“Kasabay nito, dapat ding panagutin ang mga nasa likod ng mga panggigipit at kasinungalingang ibinato sa kanya. Ang hukuman ay takbuhan ng taumbayan para matamo ang hustisya, hindi ito instrumento para maruming pamumulitika,” he added.

(At the same time, those behind the harassment and lies against her must also be held accountable. The court is a refuge for the people to achieve justice, not an instrument for dirty politics.)

Aside from local personalities and individuals, foreign ambassadors also lauded the decision of the RTC. 

“Delighted to hear that @AttyLeiladeLima is acquitted of the last remaining drug case against her, clearing her of all criminal charges after many years clamoring for truth and justice. She has shown incredible strength and patience despite this ordeal,” Marielle Geraedts, ambassador of the Netherlands to the Philippines' post on X read.

“Heartened by the acquittal of Leila de Lima today. A significant victory for justice and the rule of law. Grateful that she can continue her vital work in advocating for truth and justice,” German Ambassador to the Philippines Andreas Pfaffernoschke said in separate a post on X.

“I urge the government to quickly resolve all cases of EJK and bring perpetrators to justice!” he added.

European Union Ambassador Luc Veron also welcomed the decision.

“I share the joy of  @AttyLeiladeLima and her co-defendants who were cleared of all charges today by the Muntinlupa City Court. After so many years, this is a victory for justice! The EU applauds and stands alongside this verdict for justice and human rights,” Veron commented on X. 

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