De Lima acquittal shows PH justice works, UN to be informed, says DFA chief

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 18 2021 08:48 PM

De Lima acquittal shows PH justice works, UN to be informed, says DFA chief 1
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. said the acquittal of Sen. Leila de Lima in one of three drug cases she is facing shows the Philippine justice system “works”. Composite/File

MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. said Thursday the acquittal of Sen. Leila de Lima in one of her three drug cases shows the Philippines' justice system “works” even if it's slow. 

Locsin said on Twitter the development is “reason to respect” the country's justice system, adding he will inform the United Nations about the acquittal.

“It is actually proof conclusive that the Philippine justice system works if slowly at least exceeding fine. I knew it all along," Locsin, a lawyer, said.

"Will send this to the UN as further reason to respect our justice system before opening the mouth with ignorant comments,” he added.

A Muntinlupa City court granted De Lima's demurrer to evidence in the case involving Jad Dera, who supposedly ran the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison with the detained senator. A demurrer is essentially a motion to dismiss a case due to insufficient evidence.

The same court, however, denied her demurrer and motion to post bail in the case involving her and former bodyguard Ronnie Dayan. De Lima also has a pending motion for bail in her third case.

The senator and former chair of the Commission on Human Rights, who is one of President Rodrigo Duterte's staunch critics, has denied the allegations, saying her cases are politically motivated.

Rolly Peoro, one of De Lima's lawyers, described the acquittal as a moral victory amid the prevailing political climate.

He said they are preparing to file a motion for reconsideration for the court's decision on De Lima's second case involving Dayan and will fight the pending cases to prove her innocence to the end.

The senator has been in jail since February 2017 for allegedly pocketing drug payoffs from convicted crime lords at the National Bilibid Prison when she was justice secretary. 

Rights groups and international observers share De Lima's view she is being politically persecuted for her opposition to Duterte’s deadly drug war and her criticism of alleged human rights violations under the current administration.

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