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MANILA, Philippines – Some of the presidential candidates for the May 9 polls believe that due process must be observed in the cases of detained lawmaker and reelectionist Senator Leila De Lima.
During the second Commission on Elections (Comelec) presidential debate on Sunday, April 3, some of the presidential bets were asked whether De Lima should be freed. Labor leader and presidential candidate Leody de Guzman said the opposition lawmaker should be released.
“Dapat palayain si Senator De Lima. Ang naganap sa kanyang pagpapakulong ay bengansya ni Duterte dahil sa kanyang pagi-imbestiga sa Davao. At ‘yan ay isang katangian ng pangulo natin ngayon na pagkabumabatikos sa kanya ay kaniyang pinapakulong, ay kaniyang titirahin,” the Partido Lakas ng Masa bet said.
(Senator De Lima should be freed. Her detention was Duterte’s revenge against her after she conducted an investigation into Davao. It’s one of our president’s characteristics that he jails whoever criticizes him.)
De Lima is among the guest candidates under De Guzman’s Senate slate. The labor leader has been very vocal about his stance on De Lima’s arrest.
In a Rappler Talk interview in October last year, De Guzman called De Lima a political prisoner and said the lawmaker is the exact image of Duterte’s “political persecution.”
Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said the senator deserves a day in court and should be given a chance to exercise her rights.
“Senator Leila de Lima deserves to have a day in court and ma-practice niya ‘yong kaniyang karapatan. Lahat ng uri ng pagtatanggol sa sarili dapat magamit ‘to ni Senator Leila de Lima. (Exercise her rights. All of the measures to fight for herself should be availed by Senator Leila de Lima) And I guarantee you, Senator Leila de Lima, under my watch, she will have it,” the Manila mayor said.
Presidential candidate Senator Manny Pacquiao said De Lima’s case should undergo due process.
“Pero mahirap naman po ‘yon kung hindi idadaan sa due process. Parang hindi natin nirerepesto iyong Constitution natin. Pabilisin ‘yong trial para makalabas na siya kung wala siyang kasalanan at kung may kasalanan siya, eh ‘di mahahatulan siya ng sentensya, at saka mahatulan siya,” the boxing champion-turned-lawmaker said.
(But it’s hard if it will not undergo due process. It seems like we’re not respecting our Constitution. She should be given a speedy trial so she can be freed if she’s innocent, and if she is guilty, she would be sentenced.)
De Lima is a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte. Shortly after the president rose to power, the senator was accused of conspiring to run a drug trade in New Bilibid Prison allegedly to fund her 2016 campaign.
The senator has been detained for over five years. De Lima turned herself in to the police in February 2017.
The lawmaker said the trumped-up charges against her stemmed from her criticisms of the president’s bloody drug war. In February 2021, a Muntinlupa court acquitted her in one of her three cases. – Rappler.com