Tuesday 5 September 2017

CALD to Duterte : Free De Lima

Free De Lima? On what grounds?

This was the answer of President Rodrigo Duterte when he was asked to comment on a statement made by a group of Asian Leaders.

Last week representatives from the  Women’s Caucus of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) demanded form the Philippine President to free De Lima saying that there was not enough evidence to convict the senator with her involvement  in the Illegal drug trade during her stint as Department of Justice Secretary.
Senator Leila De Lima (photo credit to International Business Times Philippines)

The president when pressed to comment on his first answer, “I would not want to talk about it, the case is already in court,” he said.

CALD representatives from China and Malaysia has branded the drug charges against the lady senator as “politically motivated.”

“We call on the Philippine authorities to immediately release Senator De Lima by withdrawing the drug trafficking charges against her,” said Emily Lau, a former Hong Kong legislator.

Lau said it was apparent that De Lima’s detention was the result of her being a harsh critic of Mr. Duterte, particularly on the issue of extrajudicial killings.

Persecuted politically

“Clearly, this is a case of political persecution resulting from Senator De Lima’s staunch opposition to extrajudicial killings, and her continuing detention is a travesty of justice. At the very least, she should be allowed to post bail given the weakness of the evidence against her,” Lau said.

She said the charges would not stand even a hasty proceeding because these were based on “conflicting testimonies of criminals who were subsequently absolved of drug charges after they agreed to be prosecution witnesses.”

Jayanthi Balaguru, a Malaysian litigator, said De Lima’s continued detention was “an affront to human rights, rule of law and public accountability — fundamental principles that the Philippines prides itself on as a democratic country.” *

“Despite the relentless attacks and outright lies thrown against me by the evil Duterte regime to destroy my dignity and womanhood, I am grateful that many people have expressed and continued to vouch for my integrity,” De Lima said last Friday regarding the CALD statement .


Reports from Phil Daily Inquirer

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