Leila de Lima

Rights groups slam court’s decision blocking De Lima bail

Jodesz Gavilan

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Rights groups slam court’s decision blocking De Lima bail

FREED. In this file photo, former senator Leila de Lima walks out of the Muntinlupa Hall of Justice surrounded by police, after a hearing on drugs charges, on June 5, 2023.

Eloisa Lopez/Reuters

This 'prolongs the injustice committed' against detained former senator Leila de Lima, says Human Rights Watch

MANILA, Philippines – Human rights groups slammed the recent court decision that blocked former senator Leila de Lima’s bid for temporary freedom after more than six years in detention.

The Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 256 on Wednesday, June 7, denied De Lima’s petition for bail, pointing out that the grounds she cited are “not compelling.” This decision means that De Lima will stay in detention while her remaining drug case goes through trial.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the latest development “prolongs the injustice committed” against her.

“She has remained steadfast in her commitment to see that due process is done and this is what she gets in return,” Carlos Conde, HRW senior Asia researcher, said in a statement. “This is a sad day for her and for those who believe in the cause of human rights.”

The former senator was arrested in February 2017 after being subjected to misogynistic congressional hearings on her alleged involvement in illegal drunks, accusations that she has consistently denied and are viewed as retaliation from then-president Rodrigo Duterte. (TIMELINE: De Lima – from drug probe to arrest)

The denial of bail came almost a month after De Lima was acquitted by the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 in Criminal Case Number 17-165. In this case, she was accused of violating section 5 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 that penalizes the “sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of illegal drugs.”

De Lima was also acquitted in a different drug case in February 2021.

Karapatan tagged the denial of bail as “yet another form of injustice” against De Lima and that the witnesses in the remaining case are “similarly compromised.”

“Every day of her continuing detention, just like that of the more than 700 political prisoners at present, is a day of injustice against her,” Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said in a statement, adding that De Lima’s continued detention is “unacceptable and enraging.”

Must Read

After court denies her bail, what happens to De Lima now?

After court denies her bail, what happens to De Lima now?

Calling for her release, Amnesty International Philippines said the recent court decision is a “continuation of her persecution” that stemmed from the Duterte administration.

“Leila is a brave human rights defender, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of her freedom of expression [and] the Marcos administration must immediately and unconditionally free [her],” Amnesty Philippines section director Butch Olano said.

Considered as one of Duterte’s fiercest critics, De Lima openly criticized and led Senate hearings into the the killings committed in line with the violent war on drugs. As chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights in 2009, she initiated an investigation into the widespread killings allegedly perpetrated by the notorious Davao Death Squad. Then-Davao City mayor Duterte took part in a public inquiry presided by De Lima herself.

In criticizing the court’s decision, In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity (iDEFEND) slammed the priorities of the Duterte administration.

Grabeng pagpapahirap sa kanya ang ginagawa ng gobyerno samantalang namamayagpag ang mga tunay na druglord at mga protectors nila, ang mga kriminal na syang binalak imbestigahan ng dating Senador bago siya ipinakulong ni Duterte,” the group said.

(De Lima is suffering through actions of the government while the true illegal drug lords and their protectors are free, including those that she tried to prosecute before she was unjustly detained by Duterte.) – Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Natsu Ando


Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and impunity beats, producing in-depth and investigative reports particularly on the quest for justice of victims of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and war on dissent.