Press Release
February 20, 2021

De Lima to Locsin: A working justice system ensures no innocent person will be in jail

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima disagrees with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin Jr.'s assertion that her acquittal in one of her three trumped-up drug cases shows that the Philippines' justice system "works" albeit slow.

De Lima, who will be marking her fourth year in unjust detention on Feb. 24, said a working justice system would have not allowed any innocent person to be subjected to political persecution.

"A truly working justice system ensures that no innocent person will be in jail and the subject of a concerted and concentrated persecution of all three branches of government," she said.

Last Feb. 17, Judge Liezel Aquiatan of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 205 granted De Lima's Demurrer to Evidence in Criminal Case No. 17-166. Granting of a Demurrer is tantamount to her acquittal.

The same court, however, denied her Demurrer and Motion for Bail in Case No. 17-165. She also has a pending bail motion in her third case before the Muntinlupa RTC, Branch 256 (Case No. 17-167).

De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the present administration, called the acquittal even in just one case, under the Duterte regime, as a "moral victory".

Commenting on the new development on her case, Locsin took to Twitter, saying, "It is actually proof conclusive that the Philippine justice system works if slowly at least exceeding fine. I knew it all along."

Locsin further tweeted: "Will send this to the UN as further reason to respect our justice system before opening the mouth with ignorant comments."

De Lima, a staunch critic of the administration's brutal war on drugs, likewise stressed that a working justice system "does not close its eyes to the inhumanity of thousands of summary killings."

"If the justice system in the country is working, why are there thousands of families who lost their loved ones to summary executions? Probably, these killings are not happening in the corridors of the rich and powerful but in common place, everyday, in the eskinitas of the poor," she added.

Last year, De Lima filed Senate Bill No. 1842 seeking to define and criminalize extrajudicial killings and related acts and guarantee state obligations to effectively investigate and properly document EJKs which remain unabated amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

De Lima first filed SB No. 1197, also known as the "Anti-Extrajudicial Killing Act" during the 17th Congress and refiled the said bill this 18th Congress as SB No. 371, but it gathered dust in the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee under the Chairmanship of Sen. Richard Gordon.

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