MANILA, Philippines – Former vice president Leni Robredo said on the day marking former senator Leila de Lima’s 6th year under detention that she stood in solidarity with the former lawmaker, adding that truth will always prevail in the end.
“Sana ramdam mo na nandito kami palagi nakikiisa sayo. Paminsan, frustrating para sa amin na wala kaming magawa para maibsan ‘yong hirap na pinagdaraanan mo ngayon, but we keep faith na ang tama pa rin ang mananaig sa huli,” Robredo said in a video message to De Lima on Friday, February 24.
(I hope you feel that we are always one with you. Sometimes, it’s frustrating that we cannot do anything to lessen your pain now, but we keep faith that truth will prevail in the end.)
“And when we look back at all the struggles, magpapasalamat kami na may Leila de Lima na tumindig at hindi nagpatinag (we will thank that there Leila de Lima who stood up and did not falter),” the former vice president added.
February 24, 2023 marks De Lima’s 6th year in detention after she was arrested in 2017 for drug-related charges. One of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s most vocal critics, De Lima was accused of allegedly enabling the drug trade in the national penitentiary to fund her 2016 senatorial run.
Although, as of 2023, key witnesses against her like self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos, have already recanted their statements linking her to the drug trade.
In addition, Robredo added that De Lima’s battle will boost the morale of those who continue fighting for the right.
“Gaya ng lagi, gusto kong magpasalamat sa inspirasyon na dala ng tapang at paninindigan mo. Malaking bagay ito para sa laban natin dahil nagsisilbi itong lakas para sa lahat na huwag matakot tumindig para sa tama (Like the usual, I would like to thank you for the inspiration brought by your courage and strength. This is a major thing for our fight because this gives energy to everyone to not be afraid to stand up).”
Former senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Robredo’s running mate in the last national polls, said the continued detention of De Lima is a mockery of the country’s justice system.
“We have believed from day one and up until today that senator De Lima is innocent, that she does not deserve to be imprisoned,” Pangilinan said.
The former senator, who was also De Lima’s ally, also said he was convinced that De Lima is innocent and does not deserve to be imprisoned. He also urges the current administration to work for her release and ensure justice is served.
Pangilinan also said that he is one with De Lima and her supporters in calling for her release.
“On the occasion of the sixth year of her detention, we say free Leila and oppose this unjust imprisonment,” Pangilinan continued. – With reports from Marco Luis Beech/ Rappler.com
Marco Luis Beech is a Rappler intern. Learn more about Rappler’s internship program here.
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