Friday, 12 May 2023
In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) is elated, and congratulates former Senator Leila de Lima on beating the second case filed against her by the former Duterte administration. This is a vindication of her innocence of which she has never wavered in asserting throughout the past six years. De Lima, one of the country’s most prominent human rights defenders, is a staunch opponent of the bloody war on drugs. She has led the Senate as Chairperson of its Justice and Human Rights Committee, in initiating an investigation into the extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the police in 2016. For this Duterte’s reprisal against De Lima was swift and comprehensive. She was publicly vilified as a woman, persecuted and showcased by Duterte as an example of his vindictiveness against his political opponents. She was finally incarcerated on drug related charges on February 2017.
The truth uncovered could not have come any sooner, and justice must be meted out to the real criminals. Had De Lima’s investigations led to the impeachment of Duterte and his consequent prosecution using the laws of the land on Crimes Against Humanity, the Philippines would not have been in the sights of the International Criminal Court today. Hence we join the nation in celebrating this acquittal.
Therefore, with much anticipation we demand her immediate release and a full accounting of the crimes perpetrated against her. #FreeLeilaDeLimaNow and let her join her comrades in the struggle for truth, accountability and justice.