Int'l group seeks release of De Lima

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2017 06:05 PM

MANILA- The Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) on Thursday called for the release of Sen. Leila De Lima from her detention.

Jayanthi Balaguro, chairperson of the CALD Women's Council said De Lima, being an elected senator, should be given a fair trial and be allowed to fulfill her duty as an elected official of the country.

"We feel that speedy trial is imperative. Justice delayed is justice denied. We hope she gets a fair and just trial. We hope she is allowed to come out and serve her constituents basically those people whom she is representing and should not in any way affect her position that she had been elected into," Balaguro said.

"Until she is proven guilty, we hope that she is allowed to carry on her public duties," she added.

A staunch critic of the President, De Lima has been detained at the Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City since February for alleged links to the illegal drug trade at the national penitentiary.

De Lima however repeatedly denied the accusations hurled against her and labeled the charges as "political persecution" by the Duterte administration.

Emily Lau, a CALD member and former member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council meanwhile appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to respect the rule of law and present evidence in court. 

"We come here to try to seek a meeting with her. And of course, we want to send a message to President Duterte that he should respect the rule of law. And if there are evidence let them be presented in court and let her come out and represent her people in the Senate," Lau said.

Inaugurated in Bangkok in 1993, the CALD is the sole regional alliance of liberal and democratic political parties in Asia.