Press Release
October 26, 2020

De Lima thanks colleagues, supporters for renewing call for her release due to lack of evidence

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has thanked her fellow senators and members of the Committee advocating for her freedom for renewing their calls for her immediate release from unjust detention due to lack of evidence implicating her in illegal drug trade.

De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime who remains detained over trumped-up drug charges, expressed her appreciation for separate statements released by the Senate minority bloc and members of the Committee for the Freedom of Leila M. de Lima both demanding for her freedom.

"It is clear since day one that the cases against me are bogus, invented and have no integrity altogether. Any charge of me being involved in the drug trade are acts of political persecution by a vindictive man," she said.

"I sincerely thank my colleagues from the minority bloc and allies and supporters from the Committee for the Freedom of Leila M. de Lima (or Free Leila Committee) for recognizing these as they renewed their calls for my immediate release," she added.

In a joint statement last Oct. 25, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan pressed for the immediate release of De Lima after two prosecution witnesses affirmed under oath that she did not conduct any suspicious transaction that would link her to illegal drug trading inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

"The fraudulently concocted evidence against Senator Leila de Lima is crumbling. This will pave the way to her eventual exoneration and long-deserved freedom," part of their statement read. "She deserves her freedom now."

The minority senators stressed that "the testimonies of the financial investigator of AMLC and the digital forensic examiner of PDEA are crucial to the case and should be given weight as these affirm that Sen. De Lima did not conduct suspicious transactions that would link her to illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison."

During the hearing at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) last Oct. 23, prosecution witness PDEA Digital Forensic Examiner Krystal Caseñas confirmed that in her examination of extracted text messages from phones confiscated from alleged drug lords at the NBP, none has ever mentioned De Lima in any drug transaction or deposit made (or ordered to be done) inside the NBP.

Before Caseñas' testimony, a financial investigator from AMLC Financial Investigator Artemio Baculi, Jr. reaffirmed that his investigation of people suspected to have been involved in the Bilibid drug trade showed that no money flowed from the bank accounts to either De Lima or her co-accused.

Members of the Committee for the Freedom of Leila M. de Lima, who released their statement last Oct. 24, maintained that De Lima "should be granted bail immediately, and her cases must be dismissed eventually for obvious lack of evidence."

In a separate post, former Rep. Lorenzo "Erin" Tañada III, one of the founding members of the committee, said: "So where is the evidence the government is saying that Sen. Leila de Lima profited from the illegal drug trade? Both AMLA and PDEA says there is NONE. Without evidence, government can't prove their case 'beyond reasonable doubt'. Sen. Leila should be granted bail and should be acquitted!"

In Criminal Case Nos. 165 and 166, which are being heard by one judge as separate cases in Branch 205 of Muntinlupa City RTC, De Lima has filed motions for bail in June and August, respectively, on the ground that there is no evidence - let alone strong evidence - presented by the government. The motions are expected to be submitted for resolution by next month.

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