Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima is grateful to US Senators Ed Markey, Richard Durbin, and Patrick Leahy for renewing their call for her immediate release and full exoneration following her acquittal in one of her three drug charges.
Leahy is US Senate President Pro-Tempore, second only to US Vice President Kamala Harris, who is concurrently the US Senate President. Durbin is the US Senate Majority Whip.
Both Leahy and Durbin are the ranking officials of the Democratic Party after President Joe Biden, Harris, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
De Lima thanked the three US lawmakers for vouching for her innocence amid the “bogus” drug charges against her and for their continued concern on her plight.
“It is clear that the charges against me are Duterte’s brainchild, and the three honorable US Senators are well aware of this as they know that the cases against me are bogus and manufactured,” she said.
“I thank them not only for recognizing these facts, but also for their steadfast resolve to ensure that I get the justice that I deserve. To Senators Leahy, Durbin, and Markey, thank you for your continued trust and support for our shared causes for human rights, justice, and democracy,” De Lima added.
In a joint statement, the American senators welcomed the acquittal of De Lima on one of the “trumped-up” drug charges filed against her, but they maintained this was “clearly not enough.”
“The Duterte administration has wrongfully detained Senator De Lima for four years under false charges because she is willing to speak out and stand up to the egregious abuses of the government,” their statement read.
“We will continue to hold the Duterte government responsible for its abuses until Senator De Lima is released, all of the fabricated charges against her and other prisoners of conscience are dismissed, and the victims of President Duterte’s campaign of abuse against the Filipino people have obtained justice,” they added.
Judge Liezel Aquiatan of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 205 granted De Lima’s demurrer to evidence in case number 17-166 but denied a similar demurrer for case number 17-165 in separate rulings last Feb. 17. De Lima’s lawyers will file a motion for reconsideration for the latter ruling.
De Lima also expressed gratitude to US Republican Senator Marco Rubio for his support by urging the Duterte government to drop all charges against her.
“I thank Sen. Rubio for his support and demand for justice, which is another reminder that the world is watching and that I will be vindicated in time,” she said.
On Twitter, Rubio welcomed the news of De Lima’s acquittal, saying he “reaffirms his call in urging the Philippine authorities to respect Sen. De Lima’s rights and drop all charges against her.”
The four US Senators are among those who supported the bipartisan resolution, logged as Senate Resolution (SR) 142, calling for her immediate release from wrongful imprisonment, and invoking Global Magnitsky sanctions against her persecutors. It was unanimously approved at the US Senate last year.