Lagman urges Marcos to free Sen. Leila de Lima

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 16 2022 12:09 PM

Lagman urges Marcos to free Sen. Leila de Lima


MANILA — Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Thursday urged President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to free detained Sen. Leila de Lima, calling it a "litmus test" of the Marcos' "sense of justice and adherence to the rule of law."

"Liberating Sen. Leila de Lima from an odious incarceration soon after President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. assumes office is the litmus test of his sense of justice and adherence to the rule of law," Lagman said in a statement.

Lagman recalled that de Lima has been in prison for more than 5 years on drug charges which Lagman claimed were "trumped up."

"Since the President ultimately controls the prosecution of criminal cases, the public prosecutors must be directed to desist from further prosecuting de Lima for want of competent and credible evidence," he said.

Lagman pointed out that one of the 3 drug cases filed against de Lima had already been dismissed on February 17, 2021 for insufficiency of evidence.

"Moreover, the major prosecution witnesses in the two other pending cases have voluntarily recanted for having been coerced to testify and the other witnesses have failed to pin down de Lima," he said.

"While de Lima languishes in jail, the prosecution is grasping at barren straws. The new administration will embark on the right foot by freeing de Lima from an unwarranted and unjust imprisonment," the congressman added.

De Lima had been a staunch critic of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte. 

She unsuccessfully sought reelection under the banner of Vice-President Leni Robredo who lost to Marcos.

De Lima was elected Senator after serving as Justice Secretary under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III. 

She has been detained on cases stemming from Congressional Hearings in the 17th Congress which investigated the narcotics trade in the state penitentiary during her time as Justice Secretary.

Last April, self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa recanted all of his allegations against de Lima, saying that his claims implicating the outgoing senator in the illegal drug trade were not true. 

The Department of Justice earlier said that it is reviewing the charges against de Lima, following the withdrawal of the testimonies of Espinosa and several other witnesses.

—report from RG Cruz

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