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Monday, July 15, 2024

Senators, envoys hail De Lima acquittal

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Senators welcomed the dismissal of the final drug case against former Senator Leila de Lima and raised the possibility of her returning to the Upper Chamber, Senate President Francis Escudero said in a statement on Tuesday.

Escudero voiced strong support for De Lima and hoped the former Justice Secretary would consider running for the Senate in the 2025 midterm elections.

Meanwhile, the US State Department and foreign envoys hailed the acquittal of De Lima from drug charges filed during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The United States welcomes the acquittal of former Philippine Senator Leila de Lima on the final criminal charge against her. This decision follows her release on bail in November 2023 after nearly seven years of detention and her acquittal on two separate politically motivated criminal charges,” US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller  said in a statement.

The spokesperson reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to working with the Philippines in strengthening “democracy and human rights” around the world.

“We continue to urge the Philippines to resolve politically motivated cases, including those against journalists and civil society, in a manner consistent with its international human rights obligations and commitments,” Miller added.

US Ambassador Marykay Carlson posted in X (formerly known as Twitter) saying that the “United States supports rule of law and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms around the world.”

Echoing the same statement, German Ambassador Andreas Pfaffernoschke commended the “significant victory for justice and rule of law.” He also urged the government to “quickly resolve all cases of EJK and bring perpetrators to justice.”

Australia’s Ambassador said that she is “grateful to have met this strong and courageous woman.”

“Australia continues to support the rule of law and respect for human rights,” she continued.

Escudero praised De Lima for her courage and resilience in confronting her accusers.

As a fellow Bicolano, he shared a sense of pride in De Lima’s unwavering faith and commitment to the truth.

Senator Risa Hontiveros celebrated the dismissal as a testament to justice founded on truth and evidence rather than unfounded accusations and political agendas.

The Senate Deputy Minority Leader noted that she never doubted De Lima’s innocence from the start and is truly happy now that she has been set free—from “Free Leila Now” to “Now, Leila is free.”

However, Hontiveros emphasized that the focus should now shift to those who wrongly accused De Lima. She pointed out that baseless charges not only tarnish an individual’s reputation, but also undermine the integrity of the legal system.

“We call upon the authorities to pursue and hold accountable those who have perpetuated these unfounded allegations,” Hontiveros said, emphasizing that justice must be served, and those who have wronged De Lima and our legal system must face the consequences of their actions.

Senator Ronald dela Rosa acknowledged the court’s decision, stating, “We have to respect the decision of the court.”

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline US State Dept. welcomes De Lima’s acquittal, reaffirms commitment to democracy and human rights

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