Activists welcome de Lima’s release from prison

Progressive groups welcomed former senator Leila de Lima temporary release from prison Monday, November 13, saying her nearly seven years imprisonment by the Rodrigo Duterte government was unjust and vindictive.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan president Renato Reyes said said de Lima’s release was long overdue, adding the former senator deserves the dismissal of all remaining cases against her.

“We wish her the best on her temporary release and look forward to having her back at the physical frontlines of the defense of human rights,” Reyes said.

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Judge Gener Gito’s decision to grant de Lima temporary release is welcome, wishing the same fortune is granted to all other political prisoners in the country.

“As in the situation of the nearly 800 political prisoners in the Philippines, the charges against de Lima were driven by officials and State forces acting to persecute the political opposition and critics. Many if not all of these charges against political prisoners are based on perjured testimonies and planted evidence,” Palabay said.

“Former Pres. Rodrigo Duterte along with those who conspired to bring such patently false charges against de Lima should be held accountable,” Palabay added.

In granting de Lima’s Motion for Reconsideration to be granted bail, Gito said the prosecution was unable to discharge its burden of establishing that the guilt of the accused is strong.

De Lima was allowed to post a Php300,000 bail, along with co-accused Franklin Bucayu, Jose Adrian Dera, Ronnie Dayan and Jonnel Sanchez.

The accused have been charged with three cases related to drug-trafficking, two of which have already been dismissed.

In a statement, the Movement Against Disinformation, Inc. (MAD) said it is grateful and relieved at the decision.

“This long-awaited decision not only reaffirms our confidence in the legal system but also underscores the fundamental principles of fairness, equity, and the Rule of Law,” the group said.

“Looking ahead, we eagerly anticipate the complete resolution of the remaining case against Senator De Lima, fervently hoping for her full exoneration. We remain steadfast in our call for the release of Senator Leila De Lima and all political prisoners,” MAD added.

De Lima meanwhile said that while the petition for bail took too long, she never lost faith that her “inevitable freedom” will come.

“…[I]t is one of my greatest achievements in my career and in my life to say that, not only did I survive all these years of persecution and unjust detention, I came out stronger than ever, with an even stronger commitment to Truth, Justice, Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law,” de Lima said in a statement Monday. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)